Defensive lineman Aaron Donald was the most dominant player on the field Sunday in the Los Angeles Rams’ 39-10 victory over the San Francisco 49ers at Levi’s Stadium. Widely considered the game’s best interior defender, the Rams’ star routinely disrupted the 49ers’ offensive efforts throughout all four quarters.
Donald’s stat-line on the day was like something out of Madden:
9 total tackles
4 sacks for 29 yards
5 quarterback hits
6 tackles for loss
1 forced fumble
1 fumble recovery
The 49ers’ offensive line had no answer for Donald, who had a better game than his inflated stat sheet suggests. His knack for getting into the backfield never allowed the 49ers’ offense to generate any real rhythm. Quarterback C.J. Beathard was sacked eight times and hit another 12.
Donald’s performance Sunday was no surprise to veteran left tackle Joe Staley, who’s battled the Rams’ star nearly 10 times over the last five seasons:
“I don’t think there’s anybody that’s been like him in the NFL. He’s in a class of his own. At the end of the day, he’s still an NFL player and our job is to block him. He was really impactful today. We’ll go back and watch film to see what we can do better the next time we play him.”
Right tackle Mike McGlinchey also chimed in:
“He is one of those rare breed types of a player. I didn’t get to see him too much today because he plays primarily on the inside but he is a phenomenal player. He puts it on tape each and every week and he is a force. That is all that you can really say about him.”
One of the few plays McGlinchey did see Donald was on a stunt to the rookie’s side. Donald drove McGlinchey backwards into Beathard, knocking the 49ers quarterback to the ground and forcing the sack.
Center Weston Richburg, who faced Donald more than any other player Sunday, was less complimentary and clearly disappointed in the group’s ability to contain Donald:
“Well he is a good player. We have to be prepared to play against players like that. We didn’t come prepared and we have to do a better job, obviously next time.”
The 49ers now begin preparations for another NFC West matchup, traveling to Arizona Sunday to face the Cardinals for the second time in four weeks.