Baker Mayfield doesn't start for Rams, but he was in for the 2nd series

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Frank Schwab

Baker Mayfield was a Carolina Panther on Monday morning. On Thursday night, he was playing for the Los Angeles Rams.

The Rams did a pretty good job keeping their starting quarterback a secret, because nobody knew for sure up until kickoff if it would be Mayfield, John Wolford or Bryce Perkins getting the start. It was Wolford, who apparently was healthy enough to start despite a neck injury and some subterfuge by the Rams in the days leading up to their game against the Las Vegas Raiders.

Mayfield did play in the first quarter. The Rams went three-and-out on their first drive, and Mayfield came in for the Rams’ second drive. They trailed 10-0 at that point. And on his first play, Mayfield hit Van Jefferson for a 21-yard gain. The drive stalled but Matt Gay hit a field goal to get the Rams on the board.

Mayfield getting the start against the Raiders was floated earlier in the week, after he was claimed off waivers by the Rams on Tuesday. It still seemed farfetched. Being able to join a team at quarterback and start in two days is a big ask. Then Mayfield took the pregame reps at quarterback and everyone wondered if it would happen.

The quarterback shell game highlighted the desperate situation the Rams are in. Mayfield asked for his release on Monday from the Carolina Panthers after a miserable stretch with that team, was cut and then claimed by the Rams on Tuesday. It’s incredibly tough to start at quarterback in the NFL about 48 hours after a new team picks you up, but it seemed possible for the Rams. Matthew Stafford is on injured reserve. Wolford has been injured, Perkins started against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 12, but he didn’t play well. It’s not like they had any good options.

The Rams kept their starting quarterback a secret. All three were active. They went so far as to have all of them warm up an hour before the game.

Wolford took all of the first-team reps during the final warmups, which was a sign that he’d start.

Mayfield, the former first pick of the draft, struggled after the Panthers traded for him from the Cleveland Browns. Mayfield had a 74.4 passer rating with Carolina. Among quarterbacks with at least 100 attempts this season, only Zach Wilson of the New York Jets had a lower rating through 13 weeks.

The Rams got Mayfield to get a look at him before the season ends. They didn’t take long to put him in.

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield warms up before Thursday night's game against the Raiders. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Los Angeles Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield warms up before Thursday night’s game against the Raiders. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

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