Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald has missed a sack or tackle in the last two games, something the two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year "never, never" did in his life to this year. "
Donald, who ranks third in the NFL with nine sacks and 35 pressure points, remains confident about his level of play.
"In the end, I don't think I'm playing bad football," said Donald on Wednesday. "I feel disturbing, I still almost play games, getting quarterbacks to get rid of the ball at the last minute, whatever the case. People around me make games too, so I'm not crazy about."
But that doesn't mean Donald isn't frustrated with some aspect of his game.
When asked if officials had missed calls, Donald did not hold back.
"I think they hold up every game," Donald said, adding that in a 27:24 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Monday night football there were some obvious holds that we didn't get reputed for. "
Donald hinted at a game towards the end of the third quarter when Bucs quarterback Tom Brady hit third and 15th from his 8-yard line. When Brady was hit in the end zone by Rams defensive end Morgan Fox, he appeared to be fumbling and the Rams recovered, but the game was quickly knocked to death and decided an incomplete pass.
"I feel like Fox got the ball out of it so it should have been a sack anyway, and if it hadn't, it should have been a hold and a security because (Buccaneers attacked Donovan Smith) me in the end zone has held, "said Donald. "So I thought I was going to get the flag, I looked around, there was a lot of chaos, wasn't it, but it is what it is so I just have to keep playing ball."
The Rams Defense ranks second in terms of efficiency and allowable points per game (19.2), and the unit ranks third in the NFL with 32 sacks.
According to research by ESPN Stats & Information, call hold has been at a 20-season low across the NFL. There were 357 offensive holding penalties in 11 weeks, compared to 660 offensive holding penalties at the same time last season.
Defensive coordinator Brandon Staley conceded penalties had decreased across the league, but said the Rams (7-3) were investigating the lack of calls in favor of Donald, who played on 223 of his top division pass rushes That's 35 more than the next player, the defensive end of Chicago Bears, Akiem Hicks, who plays 188 doubles teams.
"It just means people are blocking it directly, which we know it isn't. Therefore, holding calls is generally not possible, but that's worrying as it happened in the Seattle game too," said Staley. Regarding the 10th week win in Los Angeles. "It's like Shaquille O'Neal when he played that guy – I think people take it for granted how good he is and we have to make sure people see the game the way they see it need."
When asked if he had teamed up with officials to draw attention to opponents who were holding him, Donald giggled.
"I talk to them all the bloody time," said Donald. "I say," You have to see this queue, "they say you don't see it. I say," Man, the guy put me around my neck, grabbed me, pulled my shirt off, me just hit a guy with a clean rush. "But it's okay, hopefully sooner or later I'll get one that will help us a lot so I just have to keep playing."