Rams’ Nickell Robey-Coleman is fined for helmet-to-helmet hit against Saints receiver

Rams defensive back Nickell Robey-Coleman collides with New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tommylee Lewis during the controversial fourth-quarter play in the NFC championship game.
(Gerald Herbert / Associated Press)

The controversial hit cost Nickell Robey-Coleman $26,739, but the Rams cornerback did not seem to mind.

The NFL on Friday fined Robey-Coleman for a head-to-head collision with New Orleans Saints receiver Tommylee Lewis in the Rams’ NFC championship game victory. Neither a pass-interference nor helmet-to-helmet penalty was called against Robey-Coleman on the play that occurred with less than two minutes left in regulation, which prevented the Saints from running the clock down before kicking a field goal.

The Rams came back to tie the score, and then won in overtime, 26-23, causing an ongoing controversy about the non-call.


“I’m going to pay the fine,” Robey-Coleman said in the Rams’ locker room. “It was all good, and I’m moving on.”

The Rams are preparing to play the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LIII on Feb. 3 at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Asked if he thought the fine was warranted, Robey-Coleman said, “That’s how the league feels. That’s their call.”

The non-call against Robey-Coleman generated outrage by Saints coaches, players fans and Louisiana politicians. It also sparked calls for rule changes.

Robey-Coleman reiterated that he had moved on and was preparing for the Patriots.

“It’s a big week for me and I’m just trying to prepare and get ready to be the best player I can be,” he said.


The Rams will not allow the controversy about the non-call to become a distraction in the days leading up to the Super Bowl, coach Sean McVay said.

Defensive coordinator Wade Phillips was asked his impression of the play.

“All we do coaching-wise is, if a play is called, we usually get mad if it’s against us, if we didn’t think it was interference or we thought it was this or it was that,” Phillips said. “If a play is not called — we thought they were holding [Rams defensive tackle] Aaron Donald — but they don’t call it and you go to the next play.

“So, that’s the way the game has been played for a long time and that’s the way it’s played.”

And how was Robey-Coleman handling the aftermath?

“I think he’s going to the Super Bowl, I know that, with me on the plane,” Phillips said, chuckling.

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