Baker Mayfield got his first win as a member of the Los Angeles Rams on Thursday Night Football. The Rams defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 17-16 after a 98-yard game-winning touchdown drive from the offense.
Sitting at 3-9 and on a six-game losing streak, I had taken a break from this series. It didn’t make a lot of sense given the current state of the Rams. However, last night’s win was deserving of bringing it back at least for one week.
In a game as close as this one, it usually comes down to a handful of plays and that was certainly the case on Thursday night. Here are three plays that changed the game.
(0:49 - 2nd QTR), 3rd-and-5 From LAR 10
Cam Akers had just fumbled with the offense moving, completely changing the momentum. The Raiders led by two scores and were looking to potentially put the game out of reach. However, the Rams red zone defense had other plans.
Over the last three weeks, teams are 4-for-14 in the red zone for a touchdown percentage of just 28 percent. The Rams got pressure from Greg Gaines and Leonard Floyd, forcing a bad throw from Derek Carr. Carr’s pass found Ernest Jones who came up with the interception.
Instead of going into the half, training 16-3 or even 20-3, the Rams mitigated the damage on the Akers fumble and forced a turnover of their own.
(3:55 - 4th QTR), 4th-and-1 From LV 2
Trailing 16-3, the Rams were looking to stay alive in the game and faced a fourth-and-one from the two yard line. Baker Mayfield ran play-action to his left and found Akers in the flat right at the first down marker. The spot ended up being just enough for the first down to keep the drive alive.
One play later, Akers ran for a touchdown. While it didn’t completely make up for it, Akers bounced back from his earlier fumble and made two plays when his number was called with the game on the line. Following the conversion, the Rams went from having a 1.2 percent change to win to 9.5 percent.
(0:10 - 4th QTR), 2nd-and-10 From LV 23
There are several plays that could be mentioned here. Bobby Wagner’s tackle of Josh Jacobs on 3rd-and-1 to force a punt was huge. That play gave the Rams the ball back and one last chance. Ben Skowronek also made a huge catch on the sideline, “mossing” Nate Hobbs.
Baker Mayfield Van Jefferson— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) December 9, 2022
RAMS TAKE THE LEAD WITH 9 SECONDS TO GO!pic.twitter.com/28gRHbmTL8
However, it’s hard not to have the game-winning touchdown to Van Jefferson. This throw from Mayfield had a 30 percent chance to be completed. To make this throw after arriving in Los Angeles on Tuesday and with basically no rapport with his receivers is impressive.
Mayfield got the coverage he was looking for in press-man and found the matchup that he wanted. Jefferson was able to make the play.
The numbers behind Baker Mayfield & Van Jefferson's 23-yard game-winning TD:— Next Gen Stats (@NextGenStats) December 9, 2022
Air Distance: 37.5 yds
Target Separation: 0.5 yds
Completion Probability: 30.4%
The TD to Jefferson was Mayfield's most improbable completion of the game (4 under 50%).#LVvsLAR | #RamsHouse pic.twitter.com/HvbZovotQp