The Rams pulled off the upset Thursday night with new acquisition Baker Mayfield leading the way. This win snapped a six-game losing streak for the team with their last win against Carolina ironically. The Raiders fans took over Sofi stadium in primetime but the Rams were the team that ultimately delivered. Baker was a breath of fresh air in one of the best performances on offense this season. There was a lot to like in a win over a team trying to squeeze into the playoffs so let’s review the good the bad and the meh of the TNF win.
It’s pretty strange how Wolford started the game and was pulled after a couple of drives, but Baker was the best relief anyone could ask for. Mayfield then went on to put on the best quarterback performance by a ram this year (yes I said it). It seemed like he’d been there for weeks when he only had the playbook for 48 hours. He was playing with what is basically the second team on offense and far exceeded expectations.
He was hitting receivers downfield, leading to some tight catches by Skowronek and Tutu Atwell. Baker played in a similar system under Kevin Stefanski so it was a pretty familiar scheme for him. He seemed to get more comfortable as the game went on and it’s the first time in a while I’ve seen him play like a first-overall pick. it should be really fun to watch him close out the year
Wagner has been the anchor of the defense this year and is currently rated as the best linebacker in the league by PFF. He notched his highest tackle total of the season with 14 and was crucial in keeping Josh Jacobs at bay. You can tell his veteran presence in the run game and he’s the best linebacker they’ve had in years.
The receiver group played pretty great in primetime despite the sudden quarterback change. Both Skowronek and Tutu Atwell did a great job route running and making spectacular catches all night. Benny Skow ended with a career night in a Cooper Kupp-esque performance, attacking the holes in coverage. Tutu has taken great steps in his development this year despite the lack of production from the offense as a whole. His route tree seems to be expanding and we’ve seen a definite improvement in catching from him. The Rams yet again have a deep receiver room and it’s really shown with Kupp and ARob out.
Perkins & Wolford
It says a lot when the guy that joined the team 48 hours ago does ten times better than you ever have as a backup. Even taking into account the fact that he was a first-rounder and both of these guys were undrafted, Perkins and Wolford pale in comparison. It was very surprising to see Wolford start the series when Perkins was listed as healthy. Perkins has been a project quarterback for the past few seasons but it seems as if the project is still ongoing with him. The backup quarterback position is now going to be highly evaluated this offseason as Perkins, Mayfield, and Wolford are all free agents. I think Baker stays for a cheaper deal similar to Jameis under Drew Brees.
The Rams have been playing guys that are getting some of their first starts ever so there’s no question that inexperience would be a problem. Michael Hoecht made the transition well to edge rusher but neglected to seal the edge against a Mack Hollins jet sweep. Coleman Shelton also made a rookie-like mistake in punching a Raider, resulting in a penalty that prevented what could have been an extra field goal. Everyone on the roster is developing and it’s great for the younger players to get valuable real game experience.
Akers had another solid performance with his fumble, placing him again in the meh section. Ball security has been one of his most significant issues lately and it’s not like the team needs to turn the ball over more. He had some good runs and it’s questionable why McVay thinks they can run up the middle with him easily. If he keeps improving at this rate I think he can return to the Cam Akers of old by next season.
Havenstein didn’t look great at times versus Crosby but was able to win about half the time. The veteran had the tough task of guarding Maxx Crosby who got the best of him at times. According to PFF, he allowed 5 pressures and a sack to Crosby. After a stellar season last year he’s had a pretty up-and-down year so far.