Rams' defense looks just fine, even without Aaron Donald

From ESPN - September 11, 2017

LOS ANGELES -- Talk all you want about how banged up the Indianapolis Colts were, but do not forget this: The Los Angeles Rams did not have Aaron Donald.

The Rams returned two interceptions for touchdowns and could have had another. They forced a fumble and caused a safety. They registered five sacks and nine tackles for loss. They held a team to 225 yards from scrimmage and zero third-down conversions. And they did it all without quite possibly the game's best defensive player. The Rams plugged Tanzel Smart and Tyrunn Walker in Donald's place, and they did not skip a beat under new defensive coordinator Wade Phillips.

"Theres no concern about the ability that the players have," said Rams outside linebacker Robert Quinn, who had a sack and two tackles for loss. "Of course, Aarons on a level of his own. But the players that are here and Wade and his system, I think it allows everyone, no matter the skill level, to be productive and dominate. As long as guys believe in themselves, we can make something happen."

The Colts did not have Pro Bowl quarterback Andrew Luck in this game. They started it with Scott Tolzien, who became the first quarterback to throw two pick-sixes since Tony Romo in 2015, and finished it with Jacoby Brissett. Trumaine Johnson returned an interception for a touchdown less than five minutes into the game, and Lamarcus Joyner did the same near the midway point of the third quarter. Nickell Robey-Coleman -- filling in for Kayvon Webster, who left early with an injured shoulder -- nearly had a pick-six of his own later but dropped a pass after jumping the route.


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