Rams' Aaron Donald getting grip on one-sack opener by switching gloves for Colts

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Inglewood, CA. September 12, 2021: Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald sacks Bears quarterback Andy Dalton in the 4th quarter at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood Sunday. (Wally Skalij/Los Angeles Times)
Rams defensive lineman Aaron Donald had one of three sacks on Bears quarterback Andy Dalton in the opener, but feels as if he should have had more. He is switching gloves because of that feeling. (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles Times)

Since 2014, when the Rams selected him with the 13th pick in the NFL draft, Aaron Donald has dominated, piling up sacks against all but four teams.

The Indianapolis Colts are among the missing, though Donald offers a reasonable explanation.

“Never played against ‘em,” he said, laughing, after practice Thursday.

That will change Sunday when the Rams play the Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

The Rams last played the Colts in the 2017 season opener at the Coliseum — coach Sean McVay’s first game — but Donald did not play in the 46-9 Rams victory because he had ended a holdout on the eve of the opener.

Donald, a three-time NFL defensive player of the year, had one of the Rams’ three sacks last Sunday in 34-14 season-opening victory over the Chicago Bears, increasing his career total to 86½.

But he could have had more.

On one play, Bears quarterback Andy Dalton slipped through his grasp. Outside linebacker Justin Hollins was there to make the tackle and record his second sack.

“I don’t know what was going on that day,” Donald said. “I was just letting plays slip out of my hand. I was like, ‘What is going on?’

“So I’ve been working on my grip all week, making sure everything will be good. I changed my gloves so, you know, they’re not getting away no more.”

Sunday’s game pits Donald, a six-time All-Pro, against a Colts line that features guard Quenton Nelson, an All-Pro in each of his three NFL seasons.

“He plays hard,” Donald said. “He plays through the whistle and that’s how you play the game.”

Rams defensive coordinator Raheem Morris is among those looking forward to the matchup.

“When those opportunities happen,” Morris said, “you talk about a form of fanfare.”

Donald has recorded at least 11 sacks in each of the last four seasons, including a career-best 20½ in 2018 when the Rams advanced to the Super Bowl. Last season, he had 13½ sacks and won his third defensive player of the year award.

Donald has yet to get a sack against the Colts, Philadelphia Eagles, Tennessee Titans and New York Jets.

Now he is preparing for a Colts team that features former Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz, who was sacked three times by the Seattle Seahawks in a 28-16 defeat last Sunday at Indianapolis.

Is Donald eager to finally play against the Colts?

“I’m eager to get out there play a game and win a game,” he said.

Etc.

Nose tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day (knee) was limited, per the Rams injury report. Donald, offensive lineman Andrew Whitworth and outside linebacker Terrell Lewis, who were rested Wednesday, were full participants Thursday. Receiver Ben Skowronek (forearm) was a full participant.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.

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