The Rams have clinched the NFC West, and Aaron Donald is close to clinching the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year award.
Donald was dominant today in Detroit, tormenting Matthew Stafford all day and finally forcing him to fumble in the fourth quarter, setting up a Rams touchdown that clinched what would turn into a 30-16 win.
Although there are other worthy candidates, including Khalil Mack and J.J. Watt, Donald appears to be the favorite to win Defensive Player of the Year. He’s been outstanding for a Rams team that is the first in the NFL to clinch a playoff berth.
Donald had his big game on a day when the Rams’ offense struggled. Jared Goff had a hard time getting the Rams moving, and he threw a couple passes that easily could have been pick-sixes. Todd Gurley was bottled up for much of the game, although he did score the clinching touchdown after Donald’s forced fumble.
The Lions’ offense was a mess. Aside from a trick play touchdown pass to left tackle Taylor Decker, it was stagnating all day. And the Lions’ playcalling was terrible, including a run up the middle on third-and-goal from the 19-yard line, and a bubble screen on third-and-15.
Lions coach Matt Patricia is now 4-8 in his first season in Detroit, which ought to put him on the hot seat, considering his predecessor, Jim Caldwell, was fired for going 9-7 two years in a row.
Sean McVay has had no such problems building the Rams. After inheriting a terrible team from Jeff Fisher, McVay has the Rams in the playoffs once again.