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Baker Mayfield becomes an instant L.A. hero in shocking Rams comeback win

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Baker Mayfield is congratulated by Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Curtis Bolton after the Rams' win at SoFi Stadium.
Baker Mayfield is congratulated by Las Vegas Raiders linebacker Curtis Bolton after the Rams quarterback put together an eight-play, 98-yard drive in the closing minutes of a 17-16 comeback win Thursday at SoFi Stadium.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Baker Mayfield orchestrates an almost unbelievable drive on the Rams’ final possession, finding the end zone in the final seconds of a 17-16 comeback win over the Raiders that ends L.A.'s six-game losing streak.

Baker Mayfield leads Rams to thrilling comeback win over Raiders

Rams coach Sean McVay hugs quarterback Baker Mayfield after a 17-16 comeback victory over the Raiders.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

🏈 Rams 17, Raiders 16 — FINAL

Sean McVay did not waste any time.

Check that: The Rams coach allowed more than 12 minutes to expire before he could not control himself any longer.

The evaluation of new quarterback Baker Mayfield needed to commence.

Forget that Mayfield arrived only 48 hours earlier.

Mayfield came on in place of starter John Wolford for the second series of 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 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,” McVay said, “and it sure is fun.”

And four more chances for Mayfield to continue to make his case.

McVay had said on Wednesday that it would be “unprecedented” for a quarterback to play with so little preparation with a new team.

Well, these are unprecedented times for McVay and the defending Super Bowl-champion Rams, who have nose-dived with a Super Bowl hangover.

Stafford, 34, is on injured reserve because of spinal cord contusion and is expected to be out for the rest of the season.

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Rams score touchdown after big fourth-down conversion

🏈 Raiders 16, Rams 10 — 3:19 left in the fourth quarter

Cam Akers scored on a one-yard touchdown run after the Rams converted on a critical fourth and one a play earlier to give themselves a chance at victory.

Akers caught a pass a lobbing pass from Baker Mayfield on fourth down and just managed to push over the two-yard line to keep the possession alive. Akers capped off the 17-play, 75-yard drive with a lunge up the middle for the Rams’ first touchdown of the game.

It’ll be up to the Rams defense to give Mayfield and Akers a chance in the final minutes to win the game.

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Raiders tack on another field goal in the fourth quarter

🏈 Raiders 16, Rams 3 — 12:20 left in the fourth quarter

Daniel Carlson kicked a 36-yard field goal to give the Raiders a 13-point lead.

Derek Carr has completed 11 of 19 passes for 137 yards.

Josh Jacobs has rushed for 90 yards and a touchdown in 24 carries.

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Dead-ball penalty proves costly for Rams in third quarter

🏈 Raiders 13, Rams 3 — End of third quarter

A dead-ball personal foul on offensive lineman Coleman Shelton proved costly for the Rams, pushing the team to the edge of field-goal range and ruining a good chance at a field goal.

After Baker Mayfield completed a pass to Brycen Hopkins that pushed the ball to the Raiders’ 36 but was still short of a first down, Shelton was called for a personal foul after getting to an altercation with Raiders players.

With the ball pushed back 15 yards, Matt Gay missed a 61-yard field-goal attempt that would have made it a one-touchdown game.

Of course, the Rams benefited from a 41-yard pass interference on Raiders safety Tre'von Moehrig to get on the Las Vegas side of the field.

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Ernest Jones interception helps keep Rams in the game

Rams linebacker Ernest Jones celebrates his end-zone interception against the Raiders in the second quarter.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

🏈 Raiders 10, Rams 3 — HALFTIME

An interception in the end zone by Rams linebacker Ernest Jones late in the second quarter helps keep the Rams within striking distance heading into the second half.

Derek Carr and the Raiders appeared to be on trajectory for the end zone before Jones picked off a pass intended for wide receiver Mack Hollins.

Both teams have struggled to find tempo on offense, but the Raiders have been more successful in moving the ball a bit further downfield, picking up 15 first downs to the Rams’ four. Las Vegas found the end zone on the game’s opening drive and put Daniel Carlson in range for a couple field goals.

All things considered, Baker Mayfield has looked decent in his rushed Rams debut. The waiver wire pickup completed three of six passes for 65 yards after replacing John Wolford under center on the Rams’ second possession. Cam Akers has 26 yards on eight carries.

Carr has completed nine of 13 passes for 126 yards. Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, the NFL’s leading rusher, has 58 yards and a touchdown on 18 carries.

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Another Daniel Carlson field goal extends lead for Raiders

Daniel Carlson kicks a field goal for the Raiders in the first half.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

🏈 Raiders 13, Rams 3 — 9:40 left in the second quarter

Daniel Carlson kicked a 31-yard field goal to restore the Raiders’ lead to 10 points.

Derek Carr has completed six of nine passes for 79 yards.

Josh Jacobs has rushed for 40 yards and a touchdown in 14 carries.

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Baker Mayfield enters game, helps Rams get some points

Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield throws a pass against the Raiders in the first half.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

🏈 Raiders 10, Rams 3 — :06 left in the first quarter

Baker Mayfield made his Rams debut — and it did not take long for the quarterback to produce.

Mayfield, claimed off waivers by the Rams on Tuesday, came on in place of starter John Wolford for the Rams’ second series and promptly completed a 21-yard pass to receiver Van Jefferson on his first snap.

Mayfield then scrambled for six yards.

The drive stalled three plays later and Matt Gay came on to kick a 55-yard field goal.

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Raiders extend lead on Daniel Carlson’s 52-yard field goal

Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield, left, talks with quarterback John Wolford before the game.
(Mark J. Terrill / Associated Press)

🏈 Raiders 10, Rams 0 — 2:22 left in the first quarter

Daniel Carlson kicked a 52-yard field goal to put the Raiders in control.

Receiver Mack Hollins gained 17 yards on a reverse and also had a 15-yard reception during the eight-play drive.

Derek Carr has completed four of six passes for 61 yards.

The Rams had gone three and out on their first possession. On third-and-one, the Rams attempted a jet sweep, but Maxx Crosby dropped Tutu Atwell for a six yard loss.

Baker Mayfield, acquired by the Rams off waivers on Tuesday, entered the game on the Rams’ second possession, taking over for John Wolford.

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Methodical opening drive gives Raiders the early lead

Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams makes a one-handed catch in front of Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey.
Raiders wide receiver Davante Adams (17) makes a one-handed catch in front of Rams cornerback Jalen Ramsey during the first quarter.
(Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press)

🏈 Raiders 7, Rams 0 — 9:13 left in the first quarter

Josh Jacobs scored on a one-yard run to complete a 12-play, 75-yard scoring drive.

Jacobs, the NFL’s leading rusher, gained 21 yards in seven carries.

Quarterback Derek Carr connected with receiver Davante Adams for a 32-yard gain and running back Ameer Abdullah turned a short pass into a 13-yard gain for a first down during the drive.

Carr completed two of three passes for 45 yards.

And John Wolford is indeed under center to start for the Rams.

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John Wolford taking pregame snaps with starting offense

Rams quarterback Baker Mayfield runs onto the field for pregame warmups Thursday.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

It looks like John Wolford will be starting for the Rams against the Las Vegas Raiders. The quarterback was taking snaps with the starting offense roughly 40 minutes before kickoff.

There was speculation that Rams coach Sean McVay would potentially start newly acquired quarterback Baker Mayfield, although McVay downplayed the idea earlier this week.

Wolford, Mayfield and Bryce Perkins are all active for the Rams. Wolford has been dealing with a lingering neck injury, but that doesn’t appear to be putting his playing time in jeopardy for a Rams team desperate to stop its six-game losing streak.

If Wolford exits the game for any reason, it’ll be interesting to see who McVay choses to go in next. Mayfield was claimed off waivers Tuesday, making for an incredibly quick turnaround for any quarterback to get familiar with a playbook.

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The Rams believe quarterback Baker Mayfield remains a playmaker

Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield in action during the first half against the Baltimore Ravens.
Quarterback Baker Mayfield looks to pass for the Carolina Panthers on Nov. 20 at Baltimore. He has thrown six touchdown passes against six interceptions this season.
(Nick Wass / Associated Press)

The Rams are in the throes of a dismal season, but the defending Super Bowl champions showed again Tuesday that they have not lost their touch for making a splash.

The Rams claimed quarterback Baker Mayfield off waivers from the Carolina Panthers, adding another former No. 1 overall draft pick to their roster.

Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in the 2018 NFL draft, was waived Monday after failing to revive a career that began with the Cleveland Browns.

The Rams, by virtue of their 3-9 record, were fourth in the waiver priority.

“He’s got a lot of experience,” tight end Tyler Higbee said. “Excited to see what he can do for us.”

Offensive lineman Bobby Evans played with Mayfield at Oklahoma.

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NFL reader Q&A: Should Rams trade Jalen Ramsey?

Seahawks wide receiver Tyler Lockett beats Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey for a touchdown on Sunday.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The season is not unfolding the way Rams and Chargers fans thought it might. Injuries, underperformance and play-calling are just some of the issues that have readers miffed. Rams beat writer Gary Klein, Chargers beat writer Jeff Miller and national NFL writer Sam Farmer address fans’ concerns and questions:

It appears to me that Jalen Ramsey’s production has slipped considerably this season. He has been burned often by leading receivers of the opposing team. He and other Rams corners have maddeningly been playing very loose coverage, allowing teams easy 5-to-7-yard completions with the threat of long gains with yards after the catch. Should the Rams consider trading Ramsey for a package of high draft picks in the upcoming draft?

Ram Ambatipudi, Glendale

Klein: With the Rams going through a lost season, general manager Les Snead and coach Sean McVay will consider all options. The NFL is a cold-hearted business. Every player is a potentially tradable asset. According to overthecap.com, Ramsey next season is scheduled to earn a base salary of $17 million and carry a salary-cap number of $25.2 million. That is a large financial commitment. Ramsey remains an elite player and no doubt would be valued by another team looking to contend for a Super Bowl.

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Inactives for Rams vs. Las Vegas Raiders

Here are the player who will not be playing in tonight’s game between the Rams and Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium (5:15 p.m. PST kickoff). All three quarterbacks will be active for the Rams:

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The Raiders return to L.A. on Thursday night. In many ways it’s as if they never left

Chargers players line up near the goal line as a multitude of Raiders fans show their support of their team.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Raider Image, a store with a giant Raiders helmet for an entrance, was briefly without a customer Saturday afternoon. A young woman was behind the register. Otherwise, the modest space was empty amid the surrounding chaos at Universal CityWalk.

Not for long.

“We have some new things,” the employee told a family of four once they entered through the helmet tunnel. “Holiday items and blankets.”

Within minutes, the store was packed with people browsing through all things Raiders: Dominoes, stockings and sleep sets. Shot glasses, wine glasses, beer glasses and sunglasses. Baby clothes, jerseys and jackets. Raiderettes calendars. Black and Silver everywhere.

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Rams ‘lean toward’ having Baker Mayfield available to play

Baker Mayfield takes part in a news conference after a game between the Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens.
Baker Mayfield takes part in a news conference after a game between the Carolina Panthers and the Baltimore Ravens on Nov. 20.
(Patrick Semansky / Associated Press)

Baker Mayfield sat next to Rams coach Sean McVay on a flight to the 2018 NFL scouting combine.

On Thursday, the new Rams quarterback could be standing beside McVay on the sideline when the Rams play host to the Las Vegas Raiders at SoFi Stadium.

But will Mayfield play with only two days of preparation?

McVay said Wednesday that he would “lean toward” having Mayfield available but stopped short of saying Mayfield would play.

“It would be unprecedented from my experiences because of everything that a quarterback’s asked to do, to bring him in in such a short period of time and have him go out there,” McVay said during a videoconference. “But I do think he would be capable of it if we asked.

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The Rams won’t risk playing Matthew Stafford

As seen from the back, Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford watches from the sideline.
Rams quarterback Matthew Stafford watches from the sideline during a loss to the Saints on Nov. 20.
(Tyler Kaufman / Associated Press)

Matthew Stafford is on injured reserve because of a spinal cord contusion and coach Sean McVay has all but declared that the Rams quarterback will be shut down for the season.

So, what’s next for the 34-year-old Stafford?

The 14th-year pro “wants to compete” but “it’s more about having a healthy offseason,” McVay said Monday during a videoconference with reporters.

McVay spoke the day after the Seattle Seahawks defeated the Rams, 27-23, at SoFi Stadium, a sixth consecutive loss that dropped the defending Super Bowl champions’ record to 3-9.

John Wolford, who started at quarterback against the Seahawks, is nursing a neck injury, McVay said. That would appear to put Bryce Perkins on track to start against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday night at SoFi Stadium. However, a determination has not been made, McVay said.

Last season, Stafford led the Rams to victory in Super Bowl LVI. Soon after, he received an injection in his right elbow and did not throw passes during the team’s offseason workouts as he attempted to work through tendinitis.

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Rams vs. Raiders matchups, how to watch and prediction

Breaking down how the Rams (3-9) and the Las Vegas Raiders (5-7) match up heading into their game at 5:15 p.m. PST on Thursday at SoFi Stadium. The game will be shown on Fox (Ch. 11) and streamed on Amazon Prime.

When Rams have the ball

Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins warms up before a game against the Seattle Seahawks.
Rams quarterback Bryce Perkins warms up before a game against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday at SoFi Stadium.
(Kyusung Gong / Associated Press)

The Rams would love to see what new quarterback Baker Mayfield can do, but with only two days of preparation he is probably a long shot to play against the Raiders. However, coach Sean McVay said he was leaning toward Mayfield being active.

John Wolford is questionable because of a neck injury. If Wolford does not play, Bryce Perkins is available. Whoever plays will be passing to a receiving corps that includes Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Brandon Powell and Austin Trammell.

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My Cause My Cleats: Rams honor a father who died by suicide, veterans and more

Matt Skura hopes to help others who are struggling while remembering his father Sunday.

During the NFL’s annual My Cause My Cleats celebration, the Rams center will wear custom yellow and gold cleats supporting the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. The cleats feature the words “Out Of The Darkness” and “Douglas Skura Memorial Fund.”

“It’s to honor my dad, who took his own life this March,” Matt Skura told The Times. “It’s obviously been a difficult year for myself, my family. I thought this would be a great time to honor and remember him. And a great way to also bring to light mental health issues, mental health awareness.”

Rams’ Matt Skura for My Cause My Cleats
(Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
I chose to represent the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention to honor my Dad who took his own life in March

Listen to Matt Skura:

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Rams vs. Raiders: Betting odds, lines and picks against the spread

Rams defensive back Jalen Ramsey returns an interception against the Atlanta Falcons.
(Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

The Rams take the field on a short week with two inexperienced quarterbacks and a new one that got released from one of the worst teams in the NFL, but that is far from the team’s only worry going into Thursday night against the Raiders.

Las Vegas Raiders (-6, 44.5) at Los Angeles Rams

It appears John Wolford, who is still dealing with a neck injury that designates him as ‘questionable’ on a weekly basis, will get the start over the newly acquired Baker Mayfield. The Mayfield addition seems to say a lot about what the organization thinks of Bryce Perkins, given that this is a lost season and it would make sense to give him some reps. None of the quarterbacks have much to work with because Cooper Kupp and Allen Robinson are sidelined, so expectations are extremely low. Wolford was 14 of 26 for 178 yards with two interceptions last week in a very winnable game against the Seahawks.

Despite getting outgained by 119 yards (and by 200 passing yards), the Rams only lost 27-23 to the Seahawks. It was the team’s sixth straight loss and moral victories don’t matter, but the 171 rushing yards were a season high. In fact, the ground game has been strong the last three weeks, totaling 435 yards.

Unfortunately, the offense isn’t the only problem area. Aaron Donald will likely miss this game, so there will be a huge hole in the middle of the defensive line. The Rams did have four sacks last week, but Geno Smith still threw for 367 yards and three touchdowns. Jalen Ramsey seems to have lost some zip this season and Davante Adams has 41 catches for 664 yards and seven touchdowns in the last five games.

The Rams pass defense has been among the worst in the league over the last few weeks, but they have been stout against the run. Josh Jacobs leads the league in rushing yards and has found the end zone 10 times for a Raiders bunch rushing for 5.2 yards per carry. Fortunately, the Rams have a top-five run defense, but Donald’s potential absence is a worry.

A bad Raiders defense is likely to get helped by the presence of either Wolford or Mayfield, who cannot possibly be deep into the playbook for this game. Laying a big road number on a short week isn’t a profitable strategy more often than not, but the Rams can’t score and the Raiders are top 10 in points scored per game and seem to be improving upon their red-zone issues.

Pick: Raiders -6

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