It didn’t quite rise to the level of Babe Ruth at the 1932 World Series, but Rams coach Sean McVay called his shot at Super Bowl 56 with the game on the line.
The call in question was on Los Angeles’ final defensive play of the game. Joe Burrow and the Bengals faced fourth-and-1 from the Rams’ 49-yard line. Donald beat the initial blocker, Quinton Spain, and an attempted double team by Trey Hopkins to wrap Burrow up and force an ultimately harmless pass to running back Samaje Perine.
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THE PLAY THAT SEALED THE DEAL.
— Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) February 14, 2022
McVay, speaking in his postgame news conference, said he knew Donald would win Super Bowl 56 for the Rams then and there. And he says the microphone he wore during the game will back up his claim.
“And I promise you guys — I was mic’d up, and you guys can hear: When it was the fourth down, and you could see when that they got in the shotgun, and they were probably not going to run the football, I said, ‘Aaron’s going to close the game out right here,’ McVay said.
“And he is the effing man.”
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That sequence won’t show up in the record books, but it was arguably the most impactful defensive play of Super Bowl 56. It also directly followed a play in which Donald and Greg Gaines stopped Perine for no gain on third-and-1 to set it up in the first place.
In all, Donald finished Super Bowl 56 with four tackles (two for loss), two sacks and three quarterback hits. His was a strong case for Super Bowl MVP, although that honor ultimately went to teammate Cooper Kupp, who capped his All-Pro season with eight catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns.
That clearly didn’t bother Donald, who was moved to tears in postgame interviews following his first Super Bowl victory. Regardless, he and his coach both know his value in the Rams’ Super Bowl win.