NCAA Football

Baker Mayfield scores the game-winning touchdown during the Rams’ debut against the Raiders on Football Night Night

Baker Mayfield scores the game-winning touchdown during the Rams’ debut against the Raiders on Football Night Night

Baker Mayfield had a hunch the Rams would request his services after he was released by Carolina earlier this week. Mayfield was so confident that Los Angeles would sign him that he booked a flight to Los Angeles before officially opting out.

In a Hollywood scripted performance, Mayfield led the Rams to an epic 17-16 victory Thursday night after throwing the game-winning touchdown pass Van Jefferson 10 seconds left. The score was capped by a 98-yard drive in which Mayfield completed several big passes to help the Rams snap a six-game losing streak.

“It’s there,” Mayfield told the Amazon team after the game when asked to compare Thursday night’s win to other notable moments in his career. “I was angry at first because I had to go through so many coaching changes and learn so many new things, but it definitely helped. . . . They made some good plays and put me in a good position to win.”

Sean McVay needed three plays and one possession John Woolford to Mayfield. Mayfield entered the game with 2:21 left in the first quarter and Rams trailing 10-0.

“I knew I wasn’t going to start,” Mayfield. “Honestly, we were just seeing how John was going to feel, how it was going to go, and just going to play it out. I was going to be ready no matter what.”

Mayfield was 22 of 35 for 230 yards in his Rams debut. Trailing 16-3 late, Mayfield created a 17-play drive that ended Cam Akers‘ 1-yard touchdown. After the Rams defense forced a quick punt, Mayfield punted 32 yards Ben Skowronek on L.A.’s final drive helped set up his game-winning pass to Jefferson.

“To be honest with you, I was completely shocked that they lined up in a press with 15 seconds left,” Mayfield said of his game-winning touchdown pass. “I really thought they were going to try to jump out and play zone, but they just stuck with it. Their weak safety on the sideline stayed down. Van is a great runner. He won from the line and did a good job.”

In his first game as Ram, ex Brown and Panthers the quarterback hit Jefferson from 21 yards out. Mayfield then had a 6-yard run that helped set up the game Gay’s goal 55 yard field goal.

“For him to get here and just do that, it just shows how determined he is and what kind of guy he is. I’m glad it’s here,” said Jefferson Kayleigh Hartung of Amazon. “He just came in and worked out. He’s only been here one day. … When he came in, we knew he was going to execute.”

Mayfield and the Rams offense didn’t do much in the second or third quarters, but it picked up in the fourth quarter. He had considerable success throwing the ball to Skavronka and Tutu Atwell. Skowronek caught seven passes for 89 yards. Atwell caught five passes for 50 yards after catching just six passes through the first three months of the season.

Mayfield signed with the Rams a day after being released by the Panthers. Mayfield, who signed with Carolina last offseason, lost his starting spot after suffering an injury in Week 5. His last start for Carolina came in a Week 11 loss to the Browns, the team he spent the first four years of his career with.

“I think the biggest thing I’ve learned is don’t let the play on the field affect who you are day in and day out,” Mayfield said when asked about the biggest thing he’s learned in his career up to this point. “Be the same guy for your teammates and that’s been the biggest thing this year that I’ve tried to deal with overall. Just trying to help as much as I can without letting everyone else influence me and roll with the punches. Be who I am and be that leader.

“I love football. I love to play this game, love to play and compete. Just go and enjoy it.”

Mayfield did that and then some more Thursday night, leading to a memorable finish that helped his new team avoid elimination from the playoffs.

“It speaks to the culture of the locker room,” Mayfield said of the Rams’ overall performance Thursday night. “They come here and still try to compete, even though the record speaks for itself. They just welcome me, compete and fight to the finish line. That says everything you need to know about this place.”

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