Allen Park -- Aaron Donald has a way of making good, veteran players look bad. So it's not really surprising what the Los Angeles Rams defensive tackle was able to accomplish working against Detroit Lions rookie Frank Ragnow and backup guard Kenny Wiggins.
Donald had his way with Detroit's front in Sunday's 30-16 victory, recording two sacks, two tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits and forcing a game-altering fumble in the fourth quarter.
"A lot of guys have one go-to that’s really good, he’s got everything," Ragnow said. "He can go speed, he can go power, he can go outside, he can go inside. He’s very, very, very talented."
Ragnow wasn't culpable on the strip-sack -- Donald was rushing from the opposite side --- but the first-round pick out of Arkansas still had one of his worst days as a pro, surrendering six pressures and committing a penalty on 44 pass-blocking snaps.
On a scale of 1-100, Pro Football Focus graded the Ragnow's pass-blocking performance a 2.
"I think every day that anybody plays against Aaron Donald, I don’t think anybody’s walking out of that the next day right now going, ‘Yeah, I really got the better of that situation,'" Lions coach Matt Patricia said.
Patricia is correct. Donald, with 16.5 sacks through 12 weeks, is well on his way to a defensive player of the year award and has a legit shot of becoming the third defender to win the league's MVP.
Ragnow is the eighth guard to face Donald this season to score a pass-blocking grade under 30 from PFF. This comes just one week after Ragnow posted his best single-game pass-blocking mark.
The silver lining of the rookie's struggles is it offers him an opportunity to learn and grow from the experience. Immediately after the game, he was eager to watch the film and dissect his performance.
"When you play great players, you certainly have to really analyze the things that you did," Patricia said. "And you know that there’s just such a fine line between technique and being in good position and leverage. I would say, just across the board, it doesn’t matter if we play great ends, great defensive tackles, great corners, great wide receivers. You can learn from those players. I learned from those players as a coach. I’ve been around a lot of great players and you can pick up a lot of things that they do or how they see the game."
Wagner exonerates Suh
Late in Sunday's game, Lions right tackle Rick Wagner had to briefly leave the field after he caught a finger to the eye. Replays showed former Lion Ndamukong Suh was the culprit, with a lingering hand on Wagner's face mask after a pass.
With Suh, there are always questions about intent, but when asked the day after the game, Wagner didn't believe the defensive tackle acted with malice.
Wagner returned to action after missing two snaps.