Rams' Aaron Donald a 'focal point' in 49ers' game plan, Chris Foerster says

49ers able to neutralize Donald as game plan's 'focal point' originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

Putting together a game plan to defeat a defending Super Bowl champion is a difficult task, especially when said team has a threat like Aaron Donald.

So when 49ers offensive line coach and run game coordinator Chris Foerster is preparing for the Los Angeles Rams, the All-Pro defensive tackle is at the forefront of his mind -- and as of late, San Francisco’s efforts to neutralize Donald have worked.

“I think Aaron Donald’s a great player and has had great games against us,” Foerster explained to reporters Thursday. "I think [stopping him] is a group effort. I think whether it’s the protection plan, whether it’s the quarterback getting the ball out and how we design the passing game, whether it’s the types of runs we run and where we run them.

“I will say that he is a focal point for us on every single play. There isn’t a single play that we don’t run where Aaron Donald isn’t considered.”

The 49ers come into Sunday’s Week 8 game against the Rams at SoFi Stadium with a plan that has helped them win the last seven regular-season meetings with their NFC West rival.

San Francisco has stopped Donald in past games by utilizing an effective rushing attack and an offensive scheme focused on quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo getting the ball out quickly, dropping in short passes to targets like George Kittle and Brandon Aiyuk.

And with the third YAC bro, Deebo Samuel, ruled out for Sunday’s contest, new 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey might just adopt the moniker in his teammate’s absence this week. Donald recently called preparing for McCaffrey a "headache," so tack on another point in the 49ers' favor.

Even after some protection issues early on in the 49ers' 24-9 win over the Rams in Week 4, the offensive line finished the game without allowing a single sack.

But despite San Francisco’s regular-season dominance over Los Angeles, it’s always a hard-fought fight with the caliber of players on both sides of the ball.

Foerster compared Donald to some of the game’s greats like Warren Sapp, John Randle and Reggie White, and he also pointed out the Atlanta Falcons and Kansas City Chiefs both have similar game-wreckers in Grady Jarrett and Chris Jones.

“I can’t tell you how many offensive tackles I coached that went flying across Lambeau Field as Reggie did one of his famous hump moves on a guy when I thought Reggie had finally been done,” Foerster said. “And it’s the same thing here, man. It just doesn’t end.

“It’s a challenge every week, and whether we’ve done good or bad, it’s a team effort. But I’ll just say Donald is considered on every single play.”

Donald has 12.5 sacks against the 49ers in 16 regular-season games and one NFL playoff game between the two teams.

RELATED: Aaron Donald breaks down how Rams plan to contain Deebo

The Pro Bowler hasn’t recorded a sack against San Francisco in their last four meetings, however, including this season’s Week 4 matchup and last season’s NFC Championship Game.

It’s clear the 49ers have figured out a formula for Donald that works, and they’ll be sure to try and execute it again on Sunday.

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