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Pitt in the Pros

Conner, Donald Both Make Impact in Rams-Cardinals Playoff Matchup



With Arizona Cardinals and Los Angeles Rams meeting in the first ever Monday night Wild Card game at SoFi Stadium, it pitted (no pun intended) former Pitt stars James Conner and Aaron Donald in a clash of divisional rivals.

It was an ugly night for the Cardinals’ offense — quarterback Kyler Murray especially — but Conner made the most of his opportunities.

Despite just five touches against the Rams as the Cardinals fell behind early and couldn’t manage any offensive consistency all throughout the game, Conner racked up 19 yards on four carries and five yards on a single reception. However, he scored the Cardinals’ only touchdown on a two-yard rush in the third quarter.

Donald’s impact goes beyond the stat sheet, where he only recorded one tackle and a half-sack, as his overall impact on the game can be highlighted through his sack on Murray.

Donald bull-rushed Cardinals’ guard Max Garcia, forced him back into the pocket and basically made Murray just fall to the turf to avoid a sack from a leaping Donald. With double and triple teams enforced by opposing teams, Donald routinely eats up opposing linemen and still gets to the quarterback.

The Rams won 34-11 over the Cardinals, earning quarterback Matt Stafford’s first playoff win in his 186th career NFL start, and Donald, Stafford and the Rams move on to face off with the defending Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Kickoff is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Sunday at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium between the Rams and Bucs.

Donald and Conner met up after the game, sharing a moment between two of the best Pitt alumni in the NFL.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker
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