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Matthew Stafford was ‘a fan’ of Justin Herbert playing through a rib injury vs. the Chiefs

Matthew Stafford is familiar with playing through pain. As a Los Angeles Ram, he overcame late-season elbow issues to pull the team to its first Super Bowl win since the Greatest Show on Turf days in Saint Louis.

As a Detroit Lion, he made 136 consecutive starts and won the league’s Comeback Player of the Year award despite a litany of lost seasons in between. In the process, he played through minor maladies like the hand injury that tanked his 2016 season and major ones like the broken bones in his spine that ended his 2019.

Stafford knows a little bit about toughness. And he liked what he saw from Justin Herbert after the third-year quarterback suffered fractured rib cartilage late in last Thursday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs but refused to be sidelined for more than a snap.

Herbert didn’t just stay in the game despite taking this massive hit from Mike Danna in the fourth quarter:

He found a way to thrive in it. After throwing a pair of incompletions in obvious pain before a JK Scott punt, Herbert got the ball back with 3:20 to play in a 27-17 game. His win probability sat at a meager 1.6 percent.

Rather than pack it in, Herbert stepped up.

Herbert completed seven of nine passes to lead a 73-yard scoring drive capped by a seven-yard touchdown to Joshua Palmer. He did so with fractured rib cartilage that’s undoubtedly made it awful to sneeze, cough, laugh or even breathe heavily this week.

It was an impressive performance — even more so to a fellow quarterback who’s been through it before.

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