After the merciless beating that the L.A. rams put down on the Arizona Cardinals in the first round of the playoffs, many football fans feel that the Rams should be favored in their coming matchup against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
One of the primary reasons for this is the belief that Aaron Donald will single-handedly dominate the Bucs offensive line, disrupting Tom Brady’s ability to throw and therefore removing Tampa’s chances of winning the game.
However, Rams fans really shouldn’t feel too confident about Donald’s chances to drastically affect the game on Sunday.
For one, pressure on the quarterback doesn’t translate to losses for the Bucs. Even though the Eagles lived in the backfield against the Bucs, barely anyone could have noticed considering how well the offense played, even with backup running backs and a backup tackle.
The Rams pass rush is excellent, but it is more than fair to assume that Brady will play under similar circumstances this week.
The biggest thing the Bucs will need to worry about in regard to Donald is the mental impact of a big play. Players like Donald often find themselves the cause of momentum-gaining plays for their teams, which means, by definition, that the opposing team is losing momentum.
So, if the Bucs can remain focused and undeterred after any big plays Donald can make on Sunday, they can effectively minimize arguably the most important aspect of Donald’s game.
Another reason Bucs fans should pump the breaks on worrying too much about Donald is that Tom Brady is their quarterback. Considering that Brady has never been and continues to be about as mobile as Lt. Dan from Forrest Gump, it should be no shock to anyone he has found alternative ways of dealing with elite rushers.
Brady has one of the fastest release times out of all quarterbacks when it comes to getting rid of the ball. This translates to less forced throws, sacks, and mistakes similar to the ones that plagued Kyler Murray under that same pressure.
Aaron Donald is unquestionably one of the most talented to ever play his position, but at the end of the day, he can only affect the game so much from his position. Let no one forget the disparity that exists between the quarterback and every other position on the field from an impact standpoint.
Aaron Donald is great, but his impact will never go beyond a dominant quarterback, and that is exactly what the Buccaneers have in Tom Brady.