After a slow start to the 2017 NFL season, the Los Angeles Rams defense has capped off a stellar two-week stretch with a shutout victory over the Arizona Cardinals in Week 7. The Rams have done an excellent job of making the right adjustments in their new 3-4 scheme to apply constant pressure on the quarterback.
The unlikely benefactor of this defense has been backup outside linebacker Matt Longacre, who is currently pacing the team with 4.0 sacks. According to Rams Reporter Kirsten Lago, Longacre says he has been able to capitalize on the dominant play of All-Pro defensive lineman Aaron Donald:
“A lot of reading off of Aaron [Donald], he’s getting up the field so fast he’s getting that contain that’s really my job,” Longacre said. “He’s such a great player so that has allowed me to come back underneath as the QB steps up.”
Longacre’s success just goes to show the kind of impact Donald can have on the game. The Los Angeles defense has recorded 23.0 sacks thus far in the 2017 NFL season, which is tied for fourth-most in the league.
Regardless, Longacre still has done a nice job of capitalizing on his opportunities. Donald has been no slouch himself, recording three sacks despite missing Week 1 against the Indianapolis Colts.