The Los Angeles Rams, for the first time in the Sean McVay–Aaron Donald–Jared Goff–Todd Gurley era, have lost three consecutive games, and it feels like there have been very few sources of comfort within the losing streak.
It began with an unfathomable 55-40 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a game in which Jameis Winston was able to throw for 385 yards and four touchdowns. Then it was a brutal 30-29 loss to the Seattle Seahawks, and that was followed by one of the Rams worst performances of the McVay era, a 20-7 loss to the San Francisco 49ers.
Donald specifically understands that this is the nature of the league. But as a member of some truly terrible Rams teams, even he is surprised by the poor play the team has been putting up these last few weeks, according to Lindsey Thiry of ESPN:
Aaron Donald's response when asked if he was surprised by the three-game losing streak: "Yeah. I mean you don’t expect that to happen definitely with this team and this organization. But you know, that’s how this works."
— Lindsey Thiry (@LindseyThiry) October 14, 2019
Donald has been through a lot with this Rams team. He started with the St. Louis Rams in 2014 with head coach Jeff Fisher. In his first three years with the team, the Rams boasted a total record of 17-31, with the nail in the Fisher coffin being a 4-12 season in their first year in L.A.
Once McVay took over, all of that changed. The Rams went 11-5 in his first year, and Goff, Gurley and Donald looked like the NFL’s premier big three for years to come. They then followed it up in Year 2 by going all the way to the Super Bowl, which ended in an ugly loss to the New England Patriots.
So it’s clear that once McVay took over, the idea of a three game losing streak in which the Rams looked truly bad in all three games seems very unlikely. That is probably the cause of Donald’s surprise in this situation.
Despite the fact that he is playing extremely well, the Rams defense cannot stop anyone. The Rams offensive line looks to be one of the worst in recent memory in football, giving Goff zero time to make a decision.
In almost all phases, there’s some type of issue. And Donald simply has to sit back, play his game and watch the mess happening around him, something he hasn’t had to do in nearly three seasons.