Seahawks ‘need the challenge’ of facing Rams star defender Aaron Donald


He’s a two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year, five-time First-Team All-Pro, six-time Pro Bowler, and an opponent the Seattle Seahawks know will cause them some problems Sunday.

Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has been dominant in nearly every facet of his game and terrorizes a quarterback like no other. The next quarterback on his radar is Seahawks star Russell Wilson.

“Just to keep coming back and being great again is a great accomplishment,” Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said of Donald on Wednesday. “He continues to really draw the attention and make the plays. I think he’s got something like 40 times he’s effected the quarterback by himself, nine sacks, and there’s a lot of times when he’s close as well. He’s a dominant football player, as good as you can get, he’s as good at his position as anybody has ever been, and so, it’s a real challenge to go against him...

It’s good for us, we need the work, we need the challenge. It’s hugely important for us to be able to handle him and not let him be a factor and that’s what we’re going to try to get done.

- Pete Carroll on Aaron Donald

[Subscribe to the Talkin' Seahawks podcast]

Seattle has one of the league’s best offenses at the midway point of the season, averaging a league-high 34.4 points per game, but the Rams vaunted defense featuring Donald is also one of the NFL’s top. The Rams defense has allowed just nine passing touchdowns through eight games and has the No. 2 scoring defense at just 19 points per game.

Donald is once again a frontrunner to take home Defensive Player of the Year honors after recording nine sacks, seven tackles for loss, 15 quarterback hits and three fumbles through eight games. He also out-ranks all defensive players with an overall grade of 93.1, according to Pro Football Focus.


Coming up with a blueprint to neutralize Donald won’t come easy.  

“Honestly, I have so much respect for his play and what he does,” Carroll said. “I like the challenge of it, I like the thought that we’re looking at him and trying to figure out who’s come up with some ways to handle him, slow him down. Trying to create ways to make it easier for our guys to find him in their alignments and things like that, where we can handle him protection wise. It’s a coach’s challenge...

He poses as much of a threat as anybody that plays the game… he’s that good. Every play, he’s right there trying to get the quarterback.

- Pete Carroll on Aaron Donald

In Week 10, the Seahawks will meet the Donald-led Rams at the new state-of-the-art SoFi Stadium for the first time. Both teams will be tested in the second half of the season with little room for error in the juggernaut NFC West. Kickoff is set for 1:25 p.m. Sunday at Hollywood Park.