Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald doesn’t really have quiet days — just days that are less loud than others.
But one of those days came on Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, when the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year finished the game with just three tackles — and no sacks.
When a player as historically dominant as Donald is held in check for an entire game, it’s rarely because of one person or factor. Instead, it’s usually because many things come together at the same time.
Besides, the Chiefs have allowed the third-fewest sacks of any NFL team in 2022.
Still, Kansas City began its 26-10 victory over Los Angeles at less than full strength on its offensive line. Dealing with an ankle injury, left guard Joe Thuney wasn’t able to suit up on Sunday, missing the first game of his 6 1/2-year NFL career. This opened the door for backup guard Nick Allegretti, whose lone start this season came in the team’s 30-29 win over the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 5.
Allegretti passed his test against the Raiders — but Donald is a different beast.
“[Allegretti] has played a lot of big games for us,” explained Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes after the game. “Throwing him in there with those other guys? They battled the entire game and gave us chances to score points. I’m always proud of those guys — and when they continue to get better and better, we’ll win a lot of football games.”
Early in the game, it looked like Donald would be up to his normal tricks. During Kansas City’s opening possession, he registered two tackles and a quarterback hit. But through the rest of the game, he would log just one more tackle — and was largely ineffective in disrupting the Chiefs’ offense.
Like his quarterback, head coach Andy Reid was pleased with the performances of Allegretti and his fellow offensive linemen, crediting his offensive line coach for their success.
“Aaron’s a pretty good player, so that’s a big challenge,” said Reid of the star defensive tackle. “But [Allegretti] did a nice job. Andy Heck has a nice scheme set up, too — to work slides and so on with him.
“[Against] both [Donald] and No. 54 [Rams linebacker Leonard Floyd], you’d better be on your A-game — because both [of] those two are good football players.”
If we’re handing out grades for Sunday afternoon’s game, the Kansas City offensive line certainly earned an A for its pass blocking; for the second time in the last three games, it didn’t allow a sack. The Chiefs will be hoping to have Thuney back for their Week 13 matchup against the Cincinnati Bengals — but if he’s forced to miss time again, they’ve got living proof that Allegretti can be ready to answer the call.