Baker Mayfield is being paraded as the hero of Thursday night’s game against the Las Vegas Raiders after he led the Los Angeles Rams to a dramatic come-from-behind victory just two days after being claimed by them. And he deserves every bit of praise he receives in the aftermath of the game because it truly was one of the most shocking wins of the season.
But he didn’t do it alone, something he said multiple times Thursday night. Tutu Atwell played a solid game, Bobby Wagner was everywhere and Ernest Jones’ interception before halftime was huge. The real unsung hero of the night, however, was Ben Skowronek.
A receiver who’s been the subject of criticism from fans in his first two seasons for being limited, Skowronek had the best game of his career just two days after meeting his new quarterback, Mayfield. He finished with a career-high seven catches for 89 yards, none bigger than a 32-yard highlight-reel grab over a defender on the Rams’ game-winning drive.
It moved the Rams from their own 28-yard line to the Raiders’ 40-yard line with just over a minute to play, giving them a fighting chance. It was unquestionably the best catch of Skowronek’s young career and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Two plays later, he caught an 8-yard pass on second-and-1 to move the chains and keep the drive progressing in the right direction. After a spike, Mayfield hit Van Jefferson for the game-winning touchdown on the very next play.
Earlier in the fourth quarter on the Rams’ first touchdown drive, Skowronek made another key grab, a 14-yarder on second-and-10 to get the Rams to the Raiders’ 48-yard line. They eventually found the end zone to make it 16-10, but had Skowronek not made that catch, it’s possible the drive would’ve stalled on third-and-10.
His catch on third-and-13 in the first half could’ve proved to be a huge play in the game, too, had Cam Akers not fumbled on the next snap.
It’s odd to say, but the Rams don’t win that game without Mayfield and Skowronek – something that would be hard to believe if someone said it before the season began. So for as much praise as Mayfield deserves, Skowronek should be recognized for his play, too.