Baker Mayfield's unlikely Rams debut and shocking victory won't be his only appearance this season.
Mayfield is set to make his first start for Los Angeles in Week 15, as head coach Sean McVay told reporters Tuesday that John Wolford will "probably" not play against Green Bay due to a neck injury.
With the 2022 season essentially over for the Rams, wide receiver Cooper Kupp (ankle) likely will not return to the field in 2022, McVay added. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald (ankle) remains week to week, per McVay, though it would be understandable if the Rams play it safe with the future Hall of Famer for the remainder of the year.
Mayfield joined Los Angeles early last week and had roughly 48 hours to digest enough of McVay's playbook to be able to play. Wolford got the start, but played just one drive before Mayfield took over. Mayfield's appearance in the same week in which the Rams claimed him was essentially unprecedented, yet he managed to learn enough of Los Angeles' offense in two days to lead the Rams to a stunning comeback win. He threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left in regulation to lift Los Angeles to a 17-16 win.
Mayfield's 22-of-35, 230-yard, one-touchdown performance was his second-best showing of the season, a campaign he started as Carolina's No. 1 quarterback before injury and inconsistency saw him benched in favor of both P.J. Walker and Sam Darnold. Carolina granted Mayfield's request to be released at the start of Week 14, and the Rams claimed him via waivers one day later, adding him to a team that was in desperate need of a competent quarterback following Matthew Stafford's placement on injured reserve.
The pickup appeared to make logical sense on paper, but few (if any) expected Mayfield to take the field immediately. Los Angeles surprised the football world by trotting him out for its Thursday night game against Las Vegas. After three pedestrian quarters, the former Heisman Trophy winner channeled his inner football hero, helping the Rams score touchdowns on consecutive possessions to take down the Raiders in a game they appeared to have under control just minutes earlier.
Mayfield's future is far from certain, but he'll get at least one more week to prove his worthiness to the rest of the NFL. Should he again succeed, he'll help himself plenty prior to reaching free agency next year -- and he just might keep the Rams from sinking deeper in what has been a disappointing year.