LOS ANGELES -- His recent highlight-reel exposure might have been a revelation for some, but the dynamic pass-catching ability Los Angeles Rams tight end Tyler Higbee displayed during consecutive 100-yard receiving performances was no surprise to others.
Bob Hudson helped develop it while coaching Higbee in high school in Florida. Jeff Brohm and Tyson Helton utilized it as coach and offensive coordinator at Western Kentucky.
And Rams star running back Todd Gurley has seen it during three-plus seasons as Higbee's teammate.
"He's been doing what he's been doing at practice," Gurley said. "He's just doing it in a game now."
The 6-foot-6, 255-pound Higbee could play a large role again Sunday when the Rams play the Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. It is a must-win game for the Rams, who are 8-5 and chasing the Minnesota Vikings (9-4) for an NFC wild-card spot.
Higbee, 26, helped position the Rams for a possible run to the playoffs by producing career-best performances against the Arizona Cardinals and Seattle Seahawks.
With tight end Gerald Everett sidelined because of a knee injury, coach and play-caller Sean McVay made Higbee one of quarterback Jared Goff's primary targets. Higbee caught seven passes for 107 yards and a touchdown in the 34-7 victory over the Cardinals. He had seven receptions for 116 yards in a 28-12 victory over the Seahawks.
"It's not any different than what we've seen in moments in games," Rams tight ends coach Wes Phillips said. "He's done that in spurts before but just now, having more opportunities, it's really come out and shown."
In the 26-23 NFC championship game victory over the New Orleans Saints last season, Higbee had four catches, including a third-quarter touchdown and two key receptions during the game-winning drive in overtime.
This season, Everett's injury and McVay's decision as of late to deploy personnel groups that include Higbee and tight end Johnny Mundt opened the door for Higbee to play more.