The Rams have boasted one of the league’s best defenses all season, putting up uniformly impressive numbers across the board. L.A. finished first in total defense, allowing 281.9 yards per game, and it was also tops in passing yards allowed (190.7 a game), 3rd against the run (91.3 yards per game) and their 18.5 points allowed was also tops in the NFL.
Donald has established himself as the league’s premier pass rusher, but this week, heading into the divisional round, he revealed the one thing he’s really hoping he doesn’t see at Lambeau Field.
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Aaron Donald: I Haven’t Played in a Snow Game Since Grade School
When he was asked about playing on the frozen tundra this week, Donald noted that he may miss the sunny California temperatures, but he should be fine playing in the frigid temps — as long as it doesn’t snow.
“I wouldn’t mind it as long as it’s not too much snow,” Donald told the media on Wednesday, per Pro Football Talk. “I haven’t played in a snow game since I was about seven years old. So it’s been a long time. Those types of games, you know, it’s going to be a dog fight. So, I wouldn’t mind that, but as long as we are still able to do what we need to do out there, guys still flying around, it’d be different, but we’d be fine.”
If you say so, Mr. Donald, but be warned: This is exactly why Aaron Rodgers and the Pack wanted that No. 1 seed.
Donald, Rams, Don’t Like Cold Weather
Donald has had his usual dominant season, racking up 13.5 sacks, 14 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and 27 quarterback hits. He has a 94.5 overall grade by Pro Football Focus, with 98 pressures to boot. If his dominant presence is neutralized a bit by some freezing cold temperatures, all the better for a Packers team that thrives playing in winter weather.
The forecast for Saturday’s game at Lambeau, where it’s expected to be anywhere from 35-26 degrees — possibly colder — calls for snow showers in the morning, which doesn’t bode well for Donald and company. Some might remember the Week 14 Sunday night game in 2018, when the Rams went into a frigid Soldier Field and lost to the Chicago Bears, 15-6. Los Angeles is 7-16 since the merger in 1970 when playing in temperatures below 35 degrees. They are 1-5 in games where temps fall below 30.
Donald had two tackles and a quarterback hit in the 2018 loss to the Bears. He was neutralized by James Daniels, who was a rookie that year, and backup right guard Bryan Witzmann. According to the Chicago Tribune, the Bears solo blocked Donald on 33 of his 71 snaps in that game, and he was pretty much a non-factor, earning his lowest pass rushing grade of the season.
Rams quarterback Jared Goff was also dreadful in the 2018 loss against the Bears, going 20-44 for 180 yards, four interceptions and a fumble.
Donald Hasn’t Practiced Much This Week
Donald had two sacks in the Rams’ 30-20 win over the Seahawks in the Wild Card round before exiting the game holding his midsection. He tore some rib cartridge but says he’s feeling fine.
“The way I’m feeling right now, I’m not too worried about it … I feel good, I feel strong, and I’ll be ready come Saturday,” Donald said, per Stacey Dales of the NFL Network.
The dominant pass rusher noted that he felt like the wind had been knocked out of him, but he has been cleared to play Saturday. Hopefully, he packed an extra layer of clothing.