The Los Angeles Rams played their first game in over 20 years with a Monday Night Football matchup against the 49ers, and, while not existing was bad, their first game may have been worse. They lost 28-0, meaning the Los Angeles Rams still haven’t scored since 1994.
The Rams’ evening could easily be summed up in an outburst by star defensive lineman Aaron Donald with about five minutes to go. It started as officials gathered at the middle of the field to discuss a potential late hit penalty on Rams LB Alec Ogletree. Players gathered around to hear the discussion, and as they did, Donald grabbed 49ers WR Quinton Patton by the neck before shoving his helmet off.
Somewhere in the scuffle, Donald apparently made contact with an official. Cameras didn’t capture it, but the referees say it happened. Maybe he brushed somebody in that scuffle? Maybe a ref got hit, didn’t see who did it, and blamed it on Donald? Maybe the cameras just missed it? Whatever happened, the refs believed he made contact with an official, and that’s a foul that comes with an automatic ejection.
When he heard news of his ejection, Donald violently spiked his helmet at the field and screamed THAT’S BULLSHIT MAN. (Perhaps he didn’t believe he actually did hit a ref.)
The previous play had ended at the 38-yard line. Donald’s unnecessary roughness penalty cost LA 15 yards, putting the ball at the 23, and Donald’s unsportsmanlike conduct penalty pushed the ball half the distance to the goal, an additional 12 yards. All in all, Donald’s outburst cost LA 27 yards, and the 49ers scored another touchdown to make it 28-0 four plays later.
Donald will almost certainly be fined by the league office. He was violent toward another player, violent toward a ref, and over-the-top in the way he expressed his displeasure afterward. But on the plus side, he got to leave the game early.