Can The Bengals Slow Down Aaron Donald? Nothings Stopped Him Yet. | FiveThirtyEight

    Despite all the high-profile mercenaries the Los Angeles Rams acquired during their run to Super Bowl LVI, the one who made the biggest difference is one they recruited in 2014: Aaron Donald. He’s not only the best at what he does, he’s the single most impactful defender on the planet, and the Cincinnati Bengals offensive line may not be able to stop him.

    Donald’s credentials are impeccable. In addition to making the pro bowl in each of his eight professional seasons and being named a first-team all-pro seven years in a row, he has won defensive player of the year in three of the past four seasons. his tape also backs up all the hardware; pro football focus rated him as their best defensive lineman in passing rushes, fourth best defensive lineman in stopping runs and no. 1 overall defensive player from 2021.1

    Donald doesn’t just pass the eye test. his 12.5 regular-season sacks were tied for seventh in the NFL, and according to statistics from ESPN & amp; information group, his 84 tackles from the defensive line ranked third. he ranked second among seven forward defenders in pass rush win rate and tied for eighth in interrupted dropback rate.

    But ESPN’s video analysis team saw Donald generate pressure on just 10.5 percent of his fast passes, which ranks him 22nd in the league.3 That’s just 0.1 percentage points more than the new ram von miller and 1 point less than teammate leonard floyd if donald is beating blockers more often than everyone except micah parsons, rusher for the dallas cowboys, why is parsons pressure rate , the best in the league, is almost double (18.3 percent)?

    Reading: Aaron donald double team rate 2021

    teams put a lot more blockers in front of donald.

    “These guys are a [donald] triple team,” Miller told reporters at his introductory news conference. “I have been hosting three teams for the last 10 years. there are six people. and we still have leonard floyd and everyone else. so it’s going to be fun.”

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    opponents aren’t committing six blockers to just donald and miller. But as an interior lineman, Donald is double-teamed more often than wingers, and far more than standup running backs like Parsons and Floyd. Only five defenders faced double teams more often on pass rushes than Donald, according to ESPN stats and stats; information group. however, nobody beats double teams more often:

    donald’s double team is necessary to slow him down, but it’s not exactly enough. beat blockers solo a league-high 34.2 percent of the time, and his win rate against double teams remained a league-best 23.1 percent, the same as the haason reddick’s eighth-ranked overall. As Miller hinted, the inside threat presented by Donald limits how often opponents can put more than one body between any other striker and their quarterback.

    For the Cowboys, Parsons was double-teamed on 21.4 percent of his pass rushes. But Miller faced two opponents in just 7.5 percent of his career for the Rams, and Floyd was double-teamed just 11.6 percent of the time. Because Donald was lapped up on an astonishing 64 percent of his fast passes, his teammates on the rim were able to run one-on-one about nine fast passes out of 10, and Donald got across the line more often than anyone except Parsons anyway. . It’s no wonder Los Angeles led the league in ESPN’s pass rush win rate.

    It’s a brutal matchup for the Bengals, who have one of the worst offensive lines in football. his team’s blocked pass win rate was the third-lowest in the league this regular season. Pro Football Focus ranked Cincinnati as the 25th-ranked pass-blocking team, with ratings in the 50s (and below) for all regular contributors except left tackle Jonah Williams.

    Center Trey Hopkins has been a bright spot recently, posting pass protection ratings above 70 in four of the last five games, including a 75.3 in the AFC Championship Game. Most frequently asked to help squad right guard Jackson Carman and Hakeem Adeniji, whose pass-blocking ratings have been a measly 45.9 and 38.9, respectively, have been asked to help platoon. During this five-game stretch of form for Hopkins, he tandemly blocked 85.7 percent of Cincinnati’s dropbacks. That’s not only much higher than his 81.4 percent regular-season rate, it’s higher than the regular-season double-team rate of any NFL lineman.

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    but it hasn’t done much good. Though Hopkins’ pass-blocking win rate over the last five games has improved to 95.8 percent, the Bengals’ team’s rate was still only 53.1 percent, which, if that had been his regular season number, it would only have raised them from 30 to 29. Cincinnati just doesn’t have anyone, or a combination of anyone, that can keep Donald and company from quarterback Joe Burrow for long.

    If Los Angeles wins, three of their contracted pro bowlers — Matthew Stafford, Odell Beckham Jr. and Eric Weddle would earn their first Super Bowl rings.4 But Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris said the team is focused on delivering a title to the player who’s been here all this time.

    “this building wants to win for aaron donald to create more mystique to his legacy and what he has done,” morris told the associated press. “we want to win for aaron donald.”

    but donald could win it for them first.

    Check out our latest NFL predictions.

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