Before game is lost, LA Rams Aaron Donald speech snaps 49ers win streak

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) /

The LA Rams were down ten points to the San Francisco 49ers, and the offense was struggling. Not in moving the ball, but rather in converting yards gained into scoreboard points. All-Pro Aaron Donald did not have a quarterback sack, and in all honesty, did not have a lot of production in the game to that point. But he was impacting the game.

He was about to impact it more.

Aaron Donald is not a vocal person. But when pushed, he can be whatever the situation calls for. In this situation, he was needed. Not to lead on the field, but to lead on the sidelines. The team was disheartened. They had played well enough to win but had fallen behind by 10 points. And this was the 49ers, the team that had followed this script time and time again.

Donald knew where this would lead, just as he understood a year ago at Lambeau Field. But this time, he would not go quietly into the night. He stood up, gathered his teammates. He talked about legacy, about greatness, about playing for one another, and about overcoming adversity.

The forge of adversity makes a Championship Team

The LA Rams had done all these things throughout the 2021 NFL season. In the end, this team could no longer stand back and wait for somebody else to make the play. In this game, the Rams players had to find it within themselves, in each player, ways to win.

And then, it happened. The LA Rams scored their second touchdown, a pass from QB Matthew Stafford to Cooper Kupp, to inch closer by a score of 17-14. Then it was time for the Rams defense to take the field. The 49ers moved the ball to their 47-yard line, but then the defense took over. Facing a second down and one-yard-to-go, veteran Eric Weddle made a huge tackle for a one-yard loss. At third down and two-yards-to-go, A’Shawn Robinson and Greg Gaines made another huge stop for no gain. Then with fourth-down and two-to-go, the 49ers tried to draw the Rams offsides and ended up getting a delay-of-game.

The Rams offense went back to work, each time driving the football down the field for a field goal. But the story in this one is the defense. After allowing the touchdown, the Rams’ defense clamped down hard on the 49ers’ offense. Two punts and an interception to close out the NFC Championship Game.

And then it was over. The LA Rams prevailed.

Final. 17. 42. 20. 51