Aaron Donald will let play provide response to D.J. Fluker

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- Aaron Donald is a man of few words. He prefers to just play football.

As such, it hardly came as a surprise this week that Donald had little to say when asked about facing the Seattle Seahawks, particularly right guard D.J. Fluker, who insinuated after the Los Angeles Rams defeated the Seahawks in Week 5 that the Rams' star-studded defensive line wasn't worth all the hype.

"We just going to go out there and play our game," Donald said with a hint of a grin after practice. "Let our play speak for us."

For as much restraint as Donald showed when he spoke with reporters at his locker, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year shortly took to Instagram to post a message.

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Now what did u say #boutthattime

A post shared by Aaron Donald (@aarondonald99) on

Make no mistake, Donald's message was intended for Fluker. And the Seahawks should consider themselves warned as they prepare to play Sunday at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum.

"@mikedavisrb you in trouble Sunday bro," Todd Gurley wrote in a comment to Donald's post. "Talk to emmm," Brandin Cooks added.

Based on recent history, Fluker -- who has not participated in practice this week because of a calf injury -- might not have much to worry about. Or he might need to prepare for an inspired bunch.

The Rams' defense is coming off its worst performance of the season, after allowing a season-high 45 points in a loss to the New Orleans Saints, which cost the Rams their perfect record.

The Rams' defensive players remember that they allowed the Seahawks to rush for a season-high 190 yards and that coach Sean McVay put the game in the offense's hands on fourth-and-1 with the score 33-31 late in the fourth quarter.

"The thing about it is, everybody gets terrified with 99 and 93," Fluker said of Donald and Ndamukong Suh after the game. "We weren't terrified. We weren't scared. We're offensive linemen. We're built to do this. We go out there and grind, every single day.

"They haven't seen a team that plays physical. They want to be pass-rushers. They haven't seen a team actually go out there and take it to them every single play. They haven't seen that. We're going to keep grinding, keep building our foundation and keep going."

Fluker had a point. Not only did the Rams allow the Seahawks to rush for a season high, but also the Rams' pass rush was not as effective as it had been against other opponents.

The Rams have the top-rated pass rush win rate this season, at 64.9 percent, according to ESPN pass-rush metrics using NFL Next Gen Stats. Donald's season pass-rush win rate is 45 percent, far ahead of that of Green Bay Packers tackle Mike Daniels at 35 percent, the next-best defensive tackle in the category.

(A pass block win is when a pass-blocker sustains his block for 2.5 seconds after the snap, roughly the average NFL time to pass. When a blocker is beaten within the first 2.5 seconds, the pass-rusher is given the win.)

Against the Seahawks, the Rams posted their lowest pass-rush win rate of the season, at 47 percent.

Donald said the issues that plagued the Rams against the Seahawks have since been shored up.

"We fixed some things," Donald said. "And it ain't going to happen again."

The Rams expect that the Seahawks, who rank third in the NFL by rushing for an average of 137.1 yards per game, will lean heavily on the run again Sunday.

"Their offensive line has done a really good job," defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said. "They're a powerful group up front, and they've got really good running backs, and their coach, who everybody knows here, has always been committed to the running game."

And Donald will be committed to stopping it.