Baker Mayfield had 48 hours to get ready for what turned out to be a historic performance.
After leading the Rams to a last-minute victory over the Las Vegas Raiders last week, it took the quarterback about 72 hours to come down.
“Probably Sunday afternoon my adrenaline and everything kind of like settled down a little bit,” Mayfield said Thursday. “I slept for probably a day and half.”
Mayfield was wide awake and ready for what comes next as the Rams began preparations for a game Monday night against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Three days of practice probably will seem like an eternity to Mayfield.
After the Rams claimed him off waivers on Dec. 6, Mayfield essentially had one practice to prepare to come off the bench against the Raiders.
The top pick in the 2018 NFL draft played three-plus quarters and led two fourth-quarter scoring drives. Mayfield’s touchdown pass to Van Jefferson with 10 seconds left gave the Rams a 17-16 lead. He completed 22 of 35 passes for 230 yards in a victory that ended a six-game losing streak.
“It was really special but one of those things that you can’t really wrap your head around, I don’t think, ever,” he said when asked if had been able to process the significance of his performance.
Mayfield was glad to have a few days before beginning the next phase. The Rams have games remaining against the Packers, Denver Broncos, Chargers and Seattle Seahawks.
“It’s definitely nice to be able to take a deep breath a little bit,” he said, adding, “It’s going to be nice, you know, for me just being a really routine guy, it’ll be good going into this next game having a full week of practice and prep.”
Coach Sean McVay does not want Mayfield to learn the entire Rams playbook. More like “bite-sized increments,” McVay said Thursday.
“It’s kind of our responsibility to keep it tight,” he said.
McVay cited conversations he has had with Boston Celtics executive Brad Stevens about how to get the most out of players.
“Give ‘em just enough to try to go play great,” McVay said.
So McVay will not overload Mayfield.
“You only have a certain amount of plays that you’re going to be able to get off in a given week,” McVay said, “and I think it’s just continuing to build incrementally.
“But, really, you’re not too limited just based on his capacity and his understanding.”
Mayfield already has proved a quick study — and a quarterback able to learn on the fly regardless of distractions.
Two plays before his game-winning touchdown pass to Jefferson, Mayfield completed a pass to Ben Skowronek, and then hustled to take a snap and spike the ball to stop the clock.
“[Center] Brian Allen is yelling in my face what the cadence is, and Sean’s yelling in my ear the same thing,” Mayfield said, “So, it’s the little things like that you remember and they’re pretty funny to look back on.”
Now Mayfield is looking ahead.
He has four more games to prove to the Rams, and 31 other NFL teams, that he can be a viable starter or backup.
“I’m looking to get better each week,” he said. “Get to a certain point of just being the best version of me and elevating this team in any way I can and just being myself.
“Circumstances happened and now I’m here, so I’m going try and make the most of it.”
The Rams released outside linebacker Terrell Lewis. Lewis, a 2020 third-round draft pick from Alabama, played in 11 games this season and made 13 tackles, including a sack. He also intercepted a pass. Lewis and Justin Hollins were expected to replace Von Miller, who signed a free-agent contract with the Buffalo Bills after last season’s Super Bowl LVI victory. The Rams released Hollins last month. … Allen (knee) defensive linemen Aaron Donald (ankle) and Marquise Copeland (ankle) linebacker Travin Howard (hip) cornerback David Long (groin) and quarterback John Wolford (neck) did not practice. Linebacker Ernest Jones (wrist) and cornerback Robert Rochell (wrist) were limited.