INGLEWOOD – Aaron Donald shows all the physical tools to dominate the line of scrimmage. What he doesn’t show is the culprit for pointing to teammates in the locker room.
If the All-Pro defensive tackle was tempted to pin the Rams’ 23-20 defeat to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday on the foul-prone attack, he didn’t, not in so many words.
“Every time we make mistakes as a team, (we) go down,” Donald said of the Rams’ two fumbles and two Jared Goff interceptions in their first eight offensive possessions against the 49ers.
“But we have to keep playing and try to regain momentum. There will be good days, there will be bad days. You expect that in the football game.
“We will try to eliminate that and play better football as a team.”
Donald used the phrase “as a team” a third time during a 3 1/2 minute Zoom chat with reporters after the loss at SoFi Stadium.
Wide receiver Cooper Kupp said the Rams wouldn’t attack each other, even though the defense seemed to carry the team for most of the season.
“It’s not about one side wearing the other, it’s about playing against each other and playing for each other,” said Kupp. “We know the defense is behind us, they will keep playing no matter what happens on the offensive side of things, and they know we have the same mindset on our side.”
‘That is not going to change. Regardless of how this played out, or the feelings in this dressing room right now, the point is not to turn against each other or split into three different groups. We’re the rams, and that’s going to be true anyhow.
“I have complete confidence in the guys in this room. We love each other too much, we play for each other, we grind together. It will be a great thing to be able to get back to work. ”
Donald and the defense kept the Rams in the game, then turned it around after the 49ers led 17-3 late in the third quarter.
Donald’s tip of a Nick Mullens pass led to Jordan Fuller being intercepted with the 49ers over 50 in the first quarter. Donald forced a fumble that Troy Hill came in for a touchdown that reduced the 49ers’ lead to 17-13. And his dismissal on the first game of the Niners’ next series helped the Rams get the ball back and score their only offensive touchdown and short lead.
The Rams kept an opponent out of the end zone for the ninth time in 11 games in the second half. This is the third time it wasn’t enough.
The Rams are 7-4, the 49ers 5-6.
“In this football game it doesn’t matter how a team stands or who you play against,” said Donald. “You make mistakes, it will be difficult to get back from them.
“We have to play better as a team and find a way to win.”
With the loss, the Rams still haven’t won three games in a row since the opening weeks of the 2019 season.
Rookie coming back to Cam Akers had a season high 84 yards and his first rushed touchdown a week after catching his first touchdown pass.
Donald had one sack, four hits to the quarterback and five tackles in total after having zero sacks or tackles two games in a row for the first time in his career.
Troy Reeder had another big game to replace Micah Kiser (on injured reserve with a knee injury). Reeder led the Rams with 15 tackles, 12 of them solo. He had three pockets in Washington in a previous fill-in role.
San Francisco’s Deebo Samuel led all receivers with 11 catches for 133 yards. Niner’s cornerback Richard Sherman led his team with seven tackles and had an interception in his return from IR.
WHERE THEY ARE
The Rams (7-4) lost NFC West’s lead to Seattle (7-3) but would regain it if the Seahawks lose in Philadelphia on Monday-evening.
The Rams hold their first tiebreaker over the Seahawks after defeating them together two weeks ago.
The Rams will go to Phoenix on Sunday, December 5, to play against the Arizona Cardinals, who are 6-5 after losing to New England.
It is the first of the two meetings of the Rams and Cardinals in the coming month.