On Saturday afternoon, Baker Mayfield drew the first start in the Carolina Panthers’ ongoing quarterback battle. In turn, he helped the Panthers draw first blood in their preseason opener against the Washington Commanders.
After the defense forced a tidy three-and-out on Carson Wentz and the Commanders, Mayfield and the offense took over at their own 23-yard line. From there, the former No. 1 overall pick completed four of his seven attempts for 45 yards to push Carolina down to Washington’s 23.
Kicker Zane Gonzalez capped off the 13-play, 54-yard drive with a 41-yard field goal to put the Panthers up 3-0 at the 7:23 mark of the first quarter.
All conditions considered—Mayfield’s late arrival to the team as well as him having to split reps with competitor Sam Darnold—the fifth-year passer looked sharp. He appeared confident in the pocket, slippery in his improvisations (which included a nifty 3-yard scramble on his first dropback) and strong on his throws.
His day, as promised by head coach Matt Rhule, concluded following that lone series.