Aaron Donald’s reign of terror places him in pantheon of generational defensive players

Offensive highlights litter every catalog of the greatest plays in Super Bowl history, and even fewer of those great plays involve lumbering defensive linemen. A two-yard loss isn’t as exciting as a 25-yard scoring throw or a running back trampling an entire defense. But when the story of Super Bowl LVI is retold, Matt Stafford’s back-shoulder throw to Cooper Kupp shouldn’t overshadow Aaron Donald shredding the Bengals on consecutive plays in the final two minutes.

With a title in jeopardy of slipping away from Los Angeles as the Bengals faced a key fourth-down conversion, there was an anticipation in the air that a scintillating Donald pressure was coming. On third and 1, Donald stopped tailback Samaje Perine in his tracks, wielding a Herculean arm tackle to keep the 250-pounder from bowling forward for an extra yard.

Donald demonstrated why his pass rush win rate was 20 percent higher than the NFL’s second-best defensive tackle on the ensuing play.

read more..