The Los Angeles Rams pulled off what might go down as the most surprising victory of the NFL season on Thursday night. Not only did the Rams come back from a 16-3 deficit in the final four minutes of the game, but they did it with a quarterback (Baker Mayfield) who had been on the roster for less than 48 hours.
The Rams scored two touchdowns in the final three minutes and 19 seconds to stun the Raiders 17-16. The game-winning score came on a 23-yard pass from Mayfield to Van Jefferson with just 10 seconds left to play.
To give you an idea of how improbable this win was, here are several shocking facts from the game.
1. Blown lead part I. Going into Thursday, NFL teams were 70-2 on the season when leading by 13 points or more in the final five minutes, but that record is now 70-3 after the Raiders' loss. The Raiders were on top 16-3 with 3:20 left to play, but couldn't hold the lead.
2. Blown lead part II. One reason this loss was so painful for the Raiders is because it involved blowing another halftime lead. The Raiders led 13-3 at the half, which means they've now blown FOUR double-digit halftime leads on the season, which makes them the first team since at least 1930 to do that. Here's how Josh McDaniels stacks up against other Raiders coaches in games where the Raiders hold a double-digit halftime lead.
12 #Raiders coaches have had 10+ halftime lead at least 4 times. Their records:— Josh Dubow (@JoshDubowAP) December 9, 2022
John Madden 36-1-1
Tom Flores 27-3
Jon Gruden 21-2
John Rauch 17-0
Art Shell 16-4
Jack Del Rio 10-0
Mike White 8-0
Bill Callahan 8-2
Al Davis 7-0-1
Tom Cable 3-1
Hue Jackson 3-2
Josh McDaniels 0-4
That's not good.
3. Blown lead part III. At one point in the game, the Raiders led 16-3, which means they blew a 13-point lead. This loss marks the fourth time this season that the Raiders have blown a 13-point lead, which makes them just the fourth team in NFL history to blow that big of a lead in four different games in the same season (The other three teams are the 1982 Rams, the 1996 Jets and the 1998 Colts).
4. Baker to the rescue. To make this victory happen, Mayfield had to drive the Rams 98 yards for the game-winning touchdown, which is notable, because the scoring drive was the LONGEST touchdown drive of Mayfield's career. That's right, Mayfield saved the longest TD drive of his career for the fourth quarter of a comeback win while playing for a team that he just joined two days before the game was played. By the way, it wasn't just a long drive by Mayfield standards, it was also long by historical standards, considering the situation.
5. Mayfield is the comeback kid, but only when he doesn't start. Mayfield has only won two games in his career when trailing by double-digits and both involved games where he came off the bench. Besides Thursday's game, he also won in Week 3 of 2018 when he came off the bench against the Jets in a game that Cleveland won 21-17 after trailing 14-0. As a starter, Mayfield is 0-22 in his career when trailing by double-digits in a game.
6. Carr crash. Derek Carr struggled in the game and one of his ugliest throws came just before halftime when he threw an interception in the end zone. According to ESPN Stats and Info, that pick was his 14th career red zone interception, which is tied for the most in the NFL since he entered the league in 2014.
The Raiders had this game in hand, but then they shot themselves in the foot multiple times. Besides Carr's interception, there was a also a defensive offside by Clelin Ferrell in the fourth quarter on a fourth-and-3 play where the Rams were lined up to punt. After getting a fresh set of downs, the Rams eventually scored a touchdown on the drive to cut the lead to 16-10.
The Raiders were also hit with another dumb penalty when Jerry Tillery got flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct after he knocked the ball out of Mayfield's hands following a sack. If Tillery doesn't do that, the Rams would have had second-and-19 from their own 13 with 80 seconds left, but instead, they got a free 15 yards, which helped propel their game-winning drive.
Of all the ugly losses by the Raiders this season, this one was the ugliest.