5 positive takeaways from LA Rams Super Bowl victory
Takeaway III: Aaron Donald has no equal
In each game that he competes in, LA Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald knows that he will face two and sometimes three offensive linemen. He knows that those blockers will be given a lot of lateral to hold, grab, cling to, and sometimes even tackle him to prevent Donald’s ability to get to the quarterback. After all, if NFL officials called holding penalties on offensive linemen guilty of holding Donald, the game would be one boring seven-hour snoozefest of the referee marching off 10 yards against the offense at a clip.
And so, Donald must find a way to impact the game at key moments, and yet not the frustration of facing nearly impossible odds cause him to abandon his discipline, his focus. In the back of his mind, Donald knows that if the offense is sending two or three at him, then they have only one blocker assigned to each of his teammates.
Donald truly leads defense
In the regular season, Donald led the teams with 12.5 quarterback sacks. But he was more than just a pass rusher this year. His 84 tackles set a new career-high. But more than anything, it was a new role for the defensive lineman, a more complete and well-rounded role. Could he still chase down quarterbacks? In four playoff games, he sacked the quarterback 3.5 times and added 13 tackles. But much of the time, he simply pulled blockers off his teammates. For much of the NFC Championship Game, and Super Bowl LVI, that was enough.
But in both games, the LA Rams found themselves clinging to a precariously small lead and had to find some way of preventing their opponent from making a miraculous offensive drive to either tie or win, the game. And yet, there stood Aaron Donald against all odds, a man whose power in physical form was dwarfed by his indomitable will.
In both games, it was Donald who found a way to get his hands on the opposing quarterback when one completed pass could have ended the Rams season. It was Aaron Donald who found himself in the spotlight when the LA Rams were out of tricks or ideas. Aaron Donald stepped up when the defense needed him most. And that type of performance is why he has no equal in the NFL.