Watch Tom Brady and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers host Aaron Donald and the Los Angeles Rams in Monday Night Football live on Sky Sports NFL from 1:15am in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
By Cameron Hogwood
Last Updated: 23/11/20 5:59pm
Tom Brady is braced for one of the toughest challenges in the NFL as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers meet the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald-led defense on Monday night.
The quarterback has only faced Donald twice in his storied career, the most recent being at Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta when the New England Patriots beat the Rams 13-3, during which Brady was sacked just once.
Donald enters the game with a tied-second-most nine sacks so far this season, despite having registered none of the Rams’ six on Russell Wilson in last week’s win over the Seattle Seahawks.
“It’s a top 10 defense in every category,” said Brady told media in his pre-game press conference. “Aaron Donald is as good as there is to probably ever play in the National Football League on the D-line.
November 24, 2020, 1:00am
“He’s an incredible player, explosive, quick, powerful. It’s amazing the production he has even when people are double-teaming him and triple-teaming him but he never lets down. He’s a hard-working guy, you can tell football means a lot to him.
“But he really sparks that whole defense and (Michael) Brockers is a great player, (Samson) Ebukam is a great player, they’ve got some really athletic linebackers.”
The Rams are currently ranked No 1 in the league for yards allowed, second against the pass, fifth against the run and second in scoring.
Brockers has been a disruptive force alongside Donald, while offseason pickup Leonard Floyd is on course for a career year with seven sacks to his name so far, including three in the Week 10 win over Seattle.
Third-year undrafted cornerback Darious Williams has meanwhile emerged as a star in the making with a team-high four interceptions (two against the Seahawks) and 10 passes defended.
Brady continued: “And then Jalen (Ramsey) and the secondary, they’ve got some really good players that maybe some people haven’t heard of that are playing really well.
“Williams had two picks last week, (John) Johnson is a really good safety, (Jordan) Fuller is a really good player, Troy Hill is a good player.
“They’re fast, they attack, they’re aggressive, they’re in a good scheme and you don’t have a lot of time as a quarterback to sort things out because this d-line is on you so quick.”
On offense Sean McVay’s men have found joy through a committee rushing attack consisting of Darrell Henderson, Malcolm Brown and Cam Akers that is ranked seventh in the league with 134.2 yards per game on the ground.
The trio have also combined with the likes of Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods in executing McVay’s heavy use of pre-snap motion effectively as threats in the passing game and thereby assisting Jared Goff in the play-action setup that he tends to thrive in.
“That’s why when you watch them and [think], ‘How are these people getting wide open?’, because they really harp on everything looking the same speed and tempo,” said Buccaneers defensive line coach Kacy Rodgers.
“And another thing people don’t realise is the way they utilise their wide receivers in blocking. ‘Just put the safety down in the box.’ Don’t worry about it – they’ve got the safety blocked.
“Then they mess with the linebackers with this motion here. This guy ran a reverse, but then they handed it off inside. The misdirection and the timing is just unbelievable.”
“They just pose a heck of a problem. This is probably one of the toughest offenses to face in the league.”
Watch Brady and the Buccaneers host Donald and the Los Angeles Rams in Monday Night Football live on Sky Sports NFL from 1:15am in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
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