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NFL: Atlanta Falcons at Washington Commanders

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Player Spotlight: Brian Robinson’s growth as a runner on display in second half

Rookie RB Brian Robinson’s development continues to showcase itself on the field as he earned his first career 100-yard performance.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Robinson Jr. earned his first career 100-yard game against the Atlanta Falcons. With a combination of scheme, block execution, and Robinson’s effort, Robinson showcases to everyone what he is capable of now that he is starting to feel like himself again.

Here are three rushes from Robinson that stood out from his game this past Sunday.

Context: 3rd quarter, 3rd and 1 at Washington’s 34-yd line.

Washington increases their tempo on this third and one situation, which puts added pressure on the Atlanta Falcons to match up properly to the Commanders unbalanced formation. John Bates is the left tackle on this play, LT Charles Leno aligns as the right tackle, and Cornelius Lucas is a tight end. The Falcons match the strong side of the formation and attempt to plug the interior gaps, but there is nobody to secure the edge outside of receiver Dyami Brown.

This play works because receivers Brown and Curtis Samuel provide excellent blocks on the edge, Brown pinning Falcons CB Isaiah Oliver inside to secure the edge, and Samuel driving LB Rashaan Evans out of the play with an excellent second-level block. This unbalanced formation also allows a better athlete in Bates, instead of an offensive lineman, to pull and get in space to lead block for Robinson. Bates successfully kicks out the defensive back to help spring Robinson, who displays good acceleration around the corner to go untouched for 21 yards.

Context: 3rd quarter, 1st and 10 at Washington’s 25-yd line.

Heinicke motions TE Logan Thomas out of the backfield on this zone run to account for the edge defender outside LT Leno. The initial blocking at the line of scrimmage provides little for Robinson on the playside; in turn, he shows the instinctive ability to bend the run backside, putting pressure on the Falcons’ defenders to stay disciplined in their backside contain, and the defense is unable to do so. Robinson displayed good vision, change of direction, foot quickness, and acceleration to blow by the defensive back in the backside gap for 12 yards.

Context: 4th quarter, 1st and 10 at Washington’s 48-yd line.

Washington uses a 13-personnel package with TEs Thomas, Bates, and Cole Turner on this counter run. Like the previous play, the playside gaps are unavailable to Robinson, so he is forced to create and make a play backside. Robinson shows very good contact balance and play strength to burst through the first-level tackler and reach the second level of the defense. Part of Robinson’s growth includes creating yards on the second level and putting moves on defenders when in space, and he does that in this instance. Robinson can keep Falcons DB Darren Hall (34) away from him with a cut back inside as he took on another oncoming defender. Robinson’s pad level and ability to absorb contact allow him to keep his feet and his high-level competitiveness allows him to carry the Falcons’ defenders for an additional three yards.

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