Connect with us

Steelers News

How the Steelers Minimized Aaron Donald in Win



Steelers Rams Aaron Donald
Los Angeles Rams defensive end Aaron Donald in a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Nov. 10, 2019. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

INGLEWOOD, Calif. — The Steelers slowed down Aaron Donald. No, they did not shut him out. The star defensive tackle had five pressures and two quarterback hits. He is an alien visiting from another planet, and the Steelers were just lucky he did not wreck the game. He had chances to do that, but Pittsburgh double and triple-teamed him, and in the run game, they made no qualms that they would avoid him.

The Steelers found a way to eliminate Aaron Donald from their gameplan. No, it was not easy. Donald is one of the best in the game and still destroyed plays and got to Kenny Pickett for several pressures. But the team could run away from Donald on the left side of the play. How did they take away Donald? In pass protection, he would sometimes be doubled or triple-teamed. But in the run game, Najee Harris said they had a system where Pickett would come to the line, see the front, and then signal if the run would go right or left.

“I don’t know. I felt like our stuff was going a bit earlier,” Harris said. “But to your point, though, we were trying to run away from that motherf*****r.”

That’s a fun little nugget from Harris. It’s good game planning from the Steelers, who had to minimize Donald’s impact to win the game. But he still got his due, but not nearly enough to wreck the game as much as he could. That’s only a massive positive for the Steelers, and their plan to take Donald out of the game was bright.

The Pittsburgh native has not won a game against the team he grew up rooting for, and he still considers himself a Steelers fan. And Mike Tomlin has all the world’s respect for Donald and what he can do. They showed that you can at least try to slow down one freak along the defensive line when the rest of the defensive line is just solid to average guys. Switching strength sides and reading those fronts could slow down Donald to a degree. It was a big part of their win and a critical effort in their ability to run the football.