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What You Might've Missed: Blocking the beast

Packers handled Rams DT Aaron Donald well, especially on long second-quarter TD drive


GREEN BAY – Coming off the bye week, here's an extra WYMM from the Packers' most recent victory over the Rams.

In reviewing the offensive film, a key to Green Bay's strong performance was how it handled three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald, the Rams' star defensive tackle.

Because Donald flips sides of the line so often, lining up as a three-technique (over the outside shoulder of the guard), all five of the Packers' starting linemen had their moments matched up against Donald, and he was limited to just six total tackles and one QB hit.

The unit's effectiveness against Donald particularly stood out on the six-play, 89-yard touchdown drive in the second quarter that gave the Packers a 20-10 lead.

Here's how the Packers kept him at bay throughout a crucial sequence.

Play No. 1: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 11, second quarter, 7:16 left

Result: 27-yard completion to WR Randall Cobb

Here's some good teamwork, as initially LG Jon Runyan (76) loses his balance trying to block Donald (99), but C Lucas Patrick (62) is right there to help out, allowing enough time for Cobb to sneak out of the backfield in to the wide-open flat for a big gain to start the drive.

Play No. 2: First-and-10 from the Green Bay 38, second quarter, 6:32 left

Result: 8-yard run by RB Aaron Jones

On the next snap, Donald has flipped to the three-tech on the other side, and then right before the snap, he shifts another gap to the inside. This works out for the Packers, as RG Royce Newman (70) and Patrick double-team him to create a lane for Jones' longest run of the game.

Play No. 3: Third-and-2 from the Green Bay 46, second quarter, 5:44 left

Result: 43-yard completion to WR Davante Adams

Two plays later, Donald is back on Runyan's side for a critical third down. This time, unlike Play No. 1, Donald tries to beat Runyan to the outside. Help is still available from Patrick, but it's not needed as Runyan ends up taking Donald to the ground, and QB Aaron Rodgers gets off a beautiful throw to Adams.

Play No. 4: Second-and-6 from the LA 7, second quarter, 4:25 left

Result: 7-yard TD pass to Cobb

Two plays later, the Packers are in the end zone, and with the Rams blitzing a linebacker right over center, Runyan doesn't have any help on Donald. He locks him up a bit awkwardly, but it gets the job done as Cobb sneaks out of the backfield again. Only he doesn't go to the flat this time, he cuts inside for the score.

Bonus No. 1: First-and-10 from the LA 49, first quarter, 6:32 left

Result: 4-yard run by RB AJ Dillon

As mentioned, all the linemen had reps against Donald in the game, and this is the one LT Yosh Nijman (73) will remember most. It's a modest gain by Dillon, but watch how Nijman finishes the block. The best part? No posturing, which wouldn't be smart against a player of Donald's caliber. Nijman gives a quick celebratory nod and heads back to the huddle.

Bonus No. 2: Third-and-3 from the Green Bay 32, second quarter, 12:00 left

Result: 54-yard reception by Cobb

Sometimes, the best thing anyone can do against Donald is get rid of the ball, and here Rodgers does just in time. Donald slips by Runyan on the outside and Patrick's help isn't able to get there, but the ball is gone as Rodgers takes the hit and Cobb is off to the races downfield.