GLENDALE, Ariz. — Down one tight end in Gerald Everett, the Rams were going to have to count on another in Tyler Higbee against the Cardinals.
Higbee delivered in a big way.
The former Western Kentucky standout posted his first 100 yard receiving game of his NFL career, finishing with 7 receptions for 107 yards and one touchdown in Los Angeles’ 34-7 win.
"Just out there doing what I am asked," Higbee said. "Running around, having fun. 'G' wasn't here today, so we had to pick up the slack (with) him not being here."
Higbee's catch and yardage totals both set new career highs in each respective category and he accomplished those feats by halftime. Four of his seven catches went for 21 or more yards, including a 26-yard gain which featured a lethal stiff arm.
"He just made plays, capitalizing on his opportunities," Rams head coach Sean McVay said. "He's a complete player. You could see how capable he is as a run blocker, and then when he gets his opportunities, he shows up in the passing game. A lot of YAC (yards after catch) yards that he ended up making."
According to Pro Football Focus (PFF), Higbee entered the game with the second-highest receiving grade of any Rams offensive player, coincidentally behind Everett. However, those chances to showcase what he can do in the passing game that McVay brought up haven't come often.
Higbee entered Week 13 with 165 run blocking snaps, most of any Rams tight end, to 130 passing snaps. Everett, on the other hand, has seen 265 passing snaps to 141 run blocking snaps, though he also had played in one more game than Higbee.
However, with Everett out, more chances in the passing game came his way.
"Just being Higs," said Rams WR Robert Woods, when asked what made Higbee so effective on Sunday. "Strong side, we say, our right side, being able to get it done. Beautiful plays, beautiful catches, some nice runs setting them up."
Woods' fellow receiver, Cooper Kupp, was happy to see Higbee capitalize on those opportunities.
"He does such an incredible job for us in every aspect of the game, what he's done with blocking, route-running and being able to get down the field and make plays with his feet," Kupp said. "Super pumped for him."
For Higbee, delivering a career performance was a product of what he was told by his one of his former college coaches.
“Prove to be reliable," Higbee said. "When they call your number and it's your turn to make a play, just make the play.
"And that’s all I’m trying to do."