It keeps getting worse for Josh McDaniels. Last month, the Raiders lost to novice Colts head coach Jeff Saturday, who’s been winless ever since.
On Thursday, the Raiders lost to Baker Mayfield, just two days after he had joined the Rams.
Al Michaels is having a miserable time on Thursday Night football
Raiders owner Mark Davis almost certainly doesn’t want to make a coaching change after going through two head coaches last year and signing McDaniels to a lucrative four-year deal last offseason. But McDaniels is giving him no choice.
At this rate, he’ll be back working under Bill Belichick next season, for no cost. Though that would be a big win for the Patriots, it would be a big loss for McDaniels, whose head coaching career is going up in flames.
Then again, it’s hard to fathom how any loss could be worse for McDaniels than what happened on “Thursday Night Football.” The Raiders were leading the depleted and deflated Rams 16-3 with 12:20 remaining in regulation.
Then Mayfield, who signed with the Rams Tuesday, led them on two consecutive touchdown drives.
“What a quick study,” Rams head coach Sean McVay told reporters. “He just got here five minutes ago and figured out a way to be able to do some special things tonight.”
That’s true: Mayfield’s 98-yard game-winning drive over the final two minutes of play was spectacular. The Rams went up the field in 1:35 sans any timeouts, with Mayfield finding Van Jefferson for the go-ahead strike.
But Mayfield didn’t make those throws in isolation. The Raiders played soft defense, and for the fourth time this season, lost a game in which they led by 13 or more points. That’s a new NFL record.
For an offensive mastermind, McDaniels’ game plan Thursday was horrible. Derek Carr only threw the ball 20 times, despite playing against Los Angeles’ bad pass defense. The Rams allowed Geno Smith to throw for 367 yards and three touchdowns just last week.
Yet, McDaniels was coaching scared. Carr only had 11 passing yards in the second half.
But hey: at least Carr didn’t cry at the podium after this one. That’s progress.
Overall, McDaniels is 16-25 as a head coach, and has gone 7-18 over his last 25 games. But Thursday’s loss is the worst. There’s no way Mayfield knew more than a small fraction of the Rams’ playbook.
But it was still enough to beat a head coach who’s completely overmatched. Maybe Bill Belichick should just offer McDaniels his old job back when the Patriots take on the lowly Raiders next week.