Game Ball II: Aaron Donald
The LA Rams love what All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald does for this defense. But many fans are spoiled, as most of the time the box score shows Donald leading the team with quarterback sacks and tackles for a loss. But Donald is incredibly effective at taking on two or three offensive blockers in any given play, and still applies pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
For those Rams fans who have children, this point will make a great deal of sense. One of the most frustrating factors for LA Rams All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald has been how mercenary free agent veteran pass rushers have benefitted from the "Aaron Donald effect" and have leveraged that boost to their performance to sign huge contracts with a new team. But in 2023, the players who benefit most from the Aaron Donald effect are rookies.
Just ask OLB Byron Young and NT Kobie Turner. You can bet that nobody is happier over that fact than Aaron Donald himself.
Baldy breaks down the Aaron Donald effect in Week 16
Even as Donald did not record a sack in Week 16, his presence was felt throughout the contest. He recorded two tackles, one tackle for a loss, but he seemed to be just out of reach of Saints quarterback Derek Carr as he passed the football.
Thanks to NFL Insider and analyst, Brian Baldinger, you can see examples of just how disruptive Donald was in the win despite not showing up in the box score: