Aaron Donald: 'We've got a lot more football left'

  • By Grant Gordon NFL.com
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Rams defensive tour de force Aaron Donald has put together a dominant season brimming with records and accolades -- the latest coming Friday when the Associated Press All-Pro team was released and he was the only unanimous first-team pick.

So, it should come as no surprise that Donald hopes and expects the season to continue for a while longer for his NFC second-seeded Los Angeles Rams.

"For sure, you're going to be excited for the way you finished the season, happy with the success you had," Donald told reporters Thursday via therams.com's Myles Simmons. "But we've got a lot more football left, so just try to go into the playoffs strong, and hopefully you get to that big dance. So we've got a lot of work ahead of us."

By way of earning a first-round bye, the Rams have already moved on further than last season's group, which fell in the first round.

Donald has been a dynamo on the inside as the defensive tackle set the NFL record for sacks by an interior lineman with 20.5 -- which was also a franchise record.

After a two-game skid that saw the Rams lose to NFC playoff counterparts Chicago and Philadelphia -- a span in which Donald was held without a sack and confined to four total tackles -- the Rams finished the regular season with dominant wins over the Cardinals, 31-9, and 49ers, 48-32. Donald returned to his monstrous form with a combined 11 tackles (five for a loss) and four sacks in those two games.

But last year's one-and-done in the playoffs has provided Donald with what he believes is the proper playoff mindset.

"Well you've got to leave it all out there, because it's win or go home. So you've got to play at your best," Donald said. "You've got to try to find ways to dominate in any way -- it ain't about getting sacks, it's about making the big plays. If that's pressing the quarterback, making them throw a pick -- whatever you've got to do to try to dominate the game. So that's the mindset we've got to have as a team, and go into it. So I'm just going to go out there and fly around."

Flying around has to wait, of course, as the Rams are still awaiting -- along with the rest of the world -- to find out who their NFC Divisional Round opponent will be.

They'll play host on Saturday, Jan. 12 in prime time to the No. 3 seed Bears, No. 4 Cowboys or No. 5 Seahawks.