Rams Coach Sean McVay, left, embraces quarterback Baker Mayfield after the Rams defeated the Las Vegas Raiders 17-16 on Thursday. Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

LOS ANGELES — Baker Mayfield came on in place of starter John Wolford for the second series for the Los Angeles Rams in Thursday night’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders, and on his first snap, he completed a 21-yard pass.

But it was the finish that fans will remember.

Mayfield, picked up by the Rams this week after being released by Carolina, engineered two fourth-quarter scoring drives, capping his debut with a touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left for a 17-16 victory before a Raiders-heavy crowd of 74,738 at SoFi Stadium, which for one night anyway was Baker’s Field.

“I don’t know if you could write it any better than that,” Mayfield said.

The Rams could not have felt better. They ended a six-game losing streak and improved their record to 4-9.

“You forget what winning’s like,” Rams Coach Sean McVay said, “and it sure is fun.”


The night was all about Mayfield, and whether the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft can be a viable option as Matthew Stafford’s backup next season – and perhaps beyond.

The initial read: Absolutely.

“Whatever happens from here on out, I got nothing but respect for Baker Mayfield,” receiver Ben Skowronek said. “To have a guy come in like that, work his tail off for 48 hours, learn the game plan, learn our names…. He’s the type of competitor you want to play with.”

Mayfield was big in the clutch and showed the type of arm strength and release that McVay adores. He completed 22 of 35 passes for 230 yards, including the touchdown to Jefferson.

“Hats off to Baker,” center Brian Allen said. “We were teaching him cadences in the middle of plays. Time to get out there and see what happens. And it happened.”

Quipped McVay: “Just like we drew it up.”


RAVENS: Lamar Jackson missed a third straight day of practice for Baltimore on Friday, and Coach John Harbaugh conceded that backup quarterback Tyler Huntley would likely start Sunday at Pittsburgh.

Jackson is listed as doubtful on the injury report, but there’s been little indication that he’s recovering quickly enough to play this weekend after hurting his knee in last Sunday’s game against Denver.

“It looks like it’s going to be Tyler on Sunday, yes,” Harbaugh said.

BROWNS: Cleveland quarterback Deshaun Watson could be without top target Amari Cooper on Sunday in Cincinnati after the wide receiver sustained a hip injury in practice.

Cooper leads Cleveland with 61 catches for 832 yards and seven touchdowns. He didn’t practice Friday and is listed as questionable against the Bengals (8-4), who have lost five straight to the Browns (5-7).

Coach Kevin Stefanski didn’t provide any details on Cooper’s injury, only saying it happened near the end of Thursday’s workout.


JETS: Coach Robert Saleh confirmed that tackle Max Mitchell will miss the rest of the season after a report by ESPN Thursday that Mitchell had blood clots in his right calf and lung.

John Mitchell, Max’s father, said in the report that his son has a hereditary condition called Factor V Leiden but he is expected to make a full recovery.

After being selected in the fourth round of April’s draft, Mitchell started five games for the Jets this year at right tackle.

JAGUARS: Jacksonville quarterback Trevor Lawrence is listed as questionable to play at Tennessee despite returning to practice Friday.

Lawrence missed two days of practice because of a badly sprained big toe on his left foot, watching from the sideline as C.J. Beathard took all the repetitions with the first-team offense. But Lawrence reclaimed his position Friday and is expected to start against the Titans (7-5) on Sunday, a game the Jaguars need to win to keep alive slim playoff hopes in the AFC South.

“I feel good,” Lawrence said following his first on-field work of the week.

Lawrence has started every game in two seasons since being the No. 1 overall pick in the 2021 draft.

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