Matthew Stafford Mic'd Up Reveals Mixed Messaging About Late Hit on Tyler Higbee

Matthew Stafford
Matthew Stafford /

The Los Angeles Rams-Detroit Lions Wild Card game last week was the best of the playoffs so far by a pretty significant margin and may very well end up holding that title belt for a while. However, one part of the game no one enjoyed was the low hit on Tyler Higbee by Lions safety Kerby Joseph that knocked the Rams tight end out of the game and out of commission after MRIs revealed he tore both his ACL and MCL.

Most reasonable people understand that hitting Higbee in the knees was less of a conscious choice by Joseph and more of a consequence of the NFL's focus on eliminating high hits, which effectively forces defensive backs to go low on big receivers running across the middle. Football is a game of emotion, though, and the hit got people really riled up. Especially Matthew Stafford, who was seen on the broadcast getting into Kerby's face afterwards.

On Wednesday, the NFL released mic'd up footage from the game and we finally got to hear what Stafford was saying to the Lions safety. The messaging was somewhat... mixed. The Rams quarterback told Kerby it was a good hit before blasting him for being "dirty as f---" and that the proof lies in the tape.

It seems like Stafford is saying the hit was legal but still dirty. Which is the opinion you would expect the QB of the team to have. Saying it's a good hit was an odd thing to lead with when he was clearly mad but the adrenaline was pumping.

It is tiresome to rehash this over and over again but this is the league's fault and we'll keep seeing the same thing happen until something is done to fix it. What that is, I don't know. On the Sunday Night Football broadcast Cris Collinsworth brought up the factoid that any player would rather eliminate the low hit than the helmet-to-helmet hit because they'd rather take the possibility of a concussion over the possibility of the nine-month recovery process that accompanies a torn ligament in the knee. It doesn't seem great to accept that preference and apply it to the rules accordingly but there aren't many other choices. Football is a violent game and someone is going to get hurt when these large humans are running at each other full-tilt.

Stafford is right that it's a legal hit, but a dirty hit? Hard to call it that when you take emotion out of the equation.