CHARLOTTE, NC — Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t mince words on Wednesday when asked to rate his performance during a 0-2 start.
“Not good enough,” he said.
That’s fair, because statistically (albeit only two games), Mayfield is headed for the worst career in several major categories.
His quarterback total score (23.7) ranks 32nd in the NFL and is by far the worst after two games in his career. He opened the 2019 season with a rating of 43 and each of his other seasons was 61.5 or higher.
It is light years away from his last score of 71.1 in 2020, which ranked 10th in the league.
Mayfield’s completion rate (53.6) ranks 34th in the league and is well below his career average of 61.4. His passing yards per game (190) ranks 26th and his yards per attempt (6.8) ranks 19th, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Also, his passer rating ranks third (30.1) at 34th in the league, and his third-down completion rate (50.0) at 31st.
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These are key reasons Carolina ranks 29th in the conversions third down, an area coach Matt Rhule noted as a cause for Sunday’s 19-16 loss to the New York Giants.
Need more? Mayfield’s five fumbles (though they were all recovered) are equal for most quarterbacks in the league.
He also has just two touchdown passes and an interception, a ratio tied for 14th. Four quarterbacks have already had seven touchdown passes.
“It’s all about winning for me, whatever my stats are,” Mayfield said. “I didn’t take care of the ball well enough. That’s pretty much the only stat I care about.”
Winning was a problem for Carolina as it goes into Sunday’s home game with the New Orleans Saints (1 pm ET, FOX) with nine consecutive losses, the longest streak in the NFL.
They acquired Mayfield in a July trade with the Cleveland Browns to help end the streak, but now he is winless for the first time after two starts since the Browns made him the top pick of the 2018 draw.
“I just have to lead this group better,” Mayfield said. “I have to lead better to make sure everyone is on the same page, and we’re performing at a much higher level. That’s the biggest disappointment for me. That’s not yet revealed. So I take full ownership of that as a violation.”
The inefficiency of the offense isn’t all Mayfield’s fault. He had dropped four passes on Sunday, and in several instances, recipients had failed to execute their routes correctly.
“Guys are supposed to run 20 yard overs that are 14.15 yards.” said Rhule. ‘We make dives for 12 meters before landing. Once that distance is right, everyone will be where they should be, and we’ll really see Baker flourish.”
The fact that Mayfield has only been in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system for a few months and works with new receivers and backs also plays a role.
“Every time you go into a new system it takes live matches and real action for Coach McAdoo to get to know me and for me to get to know the system and really see how this team plays within these games. and what we feel good about and what we can be really good at,” Mayfield said.
‘Yes, they are growing pains. The first two weeks were really good tests for us. We just have to keep going. There is still a lot of ball left.”