Aaron Donald's impassioned sideline pep talk propels Rams comeback vs. 49ers in NFC championship game

Aaron Donald's impassioned sideline pep talk propels Rams comeback vs. 49ers in NFC championship game



Rams’ defensive tackle Aaron Donald had seen enough of the 49ers scoring.

Los Angeles fell behind 17-7 to San Francisco late in the third quarter, and after the latest touchdown by George Kittle with 1:59 left in the quarter, Donald gathered the defense into the huddle for a pep talk, as captured by the Fox Sports’ broadcast.

“Aaron Donald doesn’t speak a lot to his teammates, but when he does, they all listen. He told us this week, ‘This is what I wanted. To play against this team. A team we do not care for, for a chance to go to the Super Bowl,'” Fox Sports’ Erin Andrews said on the broadcast.

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One fan captured the meeting on video of the team huddled around Donald as he worked to fire up the team’s defense.

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The Rams were 1-23 when trailing by double digits in the 2nd half under Sean McVay heading into the NFC championship game with their only win coming in the 2018 NFC championship vs. the Saints, according to ESPN Stats & Info.

Donald’s pep talk certainly seemed to work, too.

For the remaining 16:59 left in the game, the 49ers were kept off the scoreboard.

The Rams’ offense, on the other hand, roared back to life, scoring a touchdown on the next drive and kicking back-to-back field goals on the next two drives to tie the game and take the lead.

The only San Francisco drives left ended in a punt, another punt and an interception on the final play before kneel downs, forced by Donald. On the play, Donald was in the process of taking down 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who aired out a last-chance attempt to find a receiver, but was caught by Rams linebacker Travin Howard instead.

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Donald and the Rams certainly wanted to take a measure of revenge against the 49ers, who had beaten their NFC West rivals in six straight games. Los Angeles needed to snap the losing streak to go back to the Super Bowl — which will be played at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles — for the first time since losing to the Patriots 13-3 in Super Bowl 53.

After the game, Donald was rewarded for his efforts with the opportunity to celebrate a Super Bowl berth with his family. 

Los Angeles will play in its second Super Bowl in four years when it takes on the Bengals on Feb. 13.





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