CHARLOTTE, NC — Carolina Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield didn’t mince words when asked to evaluate his performance in Wednesday’s 0-2 start.
“Not enough,” he said.
And that’s fair, because statistically (albeit just two games in), Mayfield is on pace for a career-worst in several key categories.
His total quarterback rating (23.7) is 32nd in the NFL and worst after two games of his career. He started the 2019 season with a 43 rating, and each of his other seasons was 61.5 or higher.
That’s light years from his final 2020 rating of 71.1, which ranked 10th in the league.
Mayfield’s completion percentage (53.6) ranks 34th in the league and is below his career average of 61.4. According to ESPN Stats and Info, he ranks 26th in passing yards per game (190) and 19th in yards per attempt (6.8).
Also, his third-down completion percentage (30.1) ranks 34th in the league, and his third-down completion percentage (50.0) ranks 31st.
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Those are big reasons why Carolina ranks 29th in third-down conversions, which area coach Matt Rule cited as part of Sunday’s 19-16 loss to the New York Giants.
want more? Mayfield’s five fumbles (all recovered) are tied for most among quarterbacks in the league.
He has just two touchdown passes and one interception, tied for 14th. Four quarterbacks already have seven touchdown passes.
“Regardless of what my stats are, I just care about winning,” Mayfield said. “I didn’t pay enough attention to the ball. That’s the only statistic I care about.”
Winning remains a problem for Carolina as it enters Sunday’s home tilt against the New Orleans Saints (1 p.m. ET, FOX) with nine straight losses, the longest streak in the NFL.
They acquired Mayfield with the Cleveland Browns in a July trade, but he was hitless after two starts for the first time since the Browns made him the top pick in the 2018 draft.
“I’ve got to command this team better,” Mayfield said. “I have to lead better to make sure everyone is on the same page and we’re performing at the highest level. That’s the biggest disappointment for me. It hasn’t shown yet. So, I take full ownership of that as a crime,” he said.
The offense’s inefficiency isn’t all Mayfield’s fault. He had four dropped passes Sunday, and on several occasions, receivers didn’t run their routes properly.
“Guys have to run 20 yard overs that are 14, 15 yards,” Rule said. “We make diving catches for 12 yards for touchdowns. Once that gap is fixed, everyone is where they need to be, we’ll see Baker really thrive.
The fact that Mayfield has only been in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s system for a few months and is working with new receivers and backs is also a factor.
“Anytime you go into a new system, it takes live games and real actions for Coach McAdoo to get to know me and me to get to know the system and see how this team plays within these plays. And what we’re comfortable doing and what we can be good at,” he said. Mayfield said.
“Yes, it hurts. The first two weeks are good tests for us. We have to keep improving. There are still a lot of balls.”