The San Francisco 49ers face a tall order on Sunday when they travel to face Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams. Donald signed a monster contract just prior to the start of the regular season and he has been his usual dominant self. He leads the NFL in QB pressures, hurries, and sacks, and likely does not lead in hits because he is closing the deal with such regularity.
Donald is coming off a monster performance against the Arizona Cardinals in which he secured three sacks in spite of being double-teamed on 36 of 40 pass rush attempts. This gives him 19.5 sacks on the season, and leaves him three short of Michael Strahan’s single-season record.
This weekend, he faces a 49ers offensive line that managed to only give up one sack to the Chicago Bears, and that was an inside linebacker breaking through. The 49ers offensive line has struggled at times in pass protection, ranking 22nd in adjusted sack rate, but they managed to keep Khalil Mack & Co. from closing the deal with any regularity. The Bears got pressure on Nick Mullens, but there was at least a modest victory for the o-line.
Our friends at Bovada are offering odds on whether or not Donald can secure the single season sack record. Whether or not he’ll record 3.5 sacks or more to break the record has YES installed at +550 (11/2 odds) and NO installed at -1000 (1/10 odds). Exactly three sacks has YES installed at +450 (9/2 odds) and NO installed at -850 (2/17 odds). Donald had three sacks last week and four sacks against the 49ers in Week 7 against the 49ers.
The more interesting wager might be whether or not Donald gets even a single sack. An over/under of 1 was installed, with OVER favored at -135, and UNDER set at -105. I’m skeptical the interior of the 49ers offensive line will hold up all day long to Donald, and even if they bring in extra help, it might not be enough. This game could prove a particularly big test for rookie running back Jeff Wilson. He will be a critical cog in pass protection when they want to send help with Donald. Wilson is a stout running back, but this will be the biggest test he faces this season when it comes to pass protection. I’m inclined to take the over on the sack total.