Saturday, June 22, 2024

Brian Robinson Jr. stars in first NFL start while helping Commanders edge Bears on ‘Thursday Night Football’

It didn’t take long for Brian Robinson Jr. to make an impact on the Washington Commanders. In his first NFL start, the rookie running back scored the winning touchdown while helping the Commanders post a 12-7 win over the Bears on Thursday night. 

Robinson, who made his regular-season debut this past Sunday against the Titans, started the season on the non-football injury list after suffering two gunshot wounds to his lower body as the victim of an attempted robbery on Aug. 28. He led the Commanders with 60 yards on 17 carries on Thursday night that included the game-winning score. 

“My biggest goal was to find my way back on the football field,” Robinson told Amazon’s Carissa Thompson after the game. “I was looking for opportunity that came my way. … Every day, I came in and prepared to get myself healthy so I can [make the most] of an opportunity like this.” 

A third-round pick in April’s draft, Robinson enjoyed a breakout final season at Alabama. Robinson rushed for 1,343 yards and 14 touchdowns while averaging 5 yards per carry. He also caught 35 passes for 296 yards and two scores while helping the Crimson Tide reach the College Football Playoff title game for the sixth time. 

The Commanders surely envisioned Robinson’s impact on Thursday night when they drafted him. He keyed a Washington running game that churned out 128 yards on 28 carries. Robinson rounds out a solid Commanders backfield that also includes Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic

“With [Robinson], you’ve got a power guy,” Commanders coach Ron Rivera said prior to Thursday night’s game, via NFL Media. “You’ve got a guy that can run between the tackles. With Antonio, you have a guy that runs off the edges pretty doggone well, and he’s a load, with his size. If he gets into space with the ball, he’s very great. Then, you’ve got J.D., who’s your change-of-pace guy who comes in on third down. You have a good trio of backs. That’s a very positive thing, we believe, for what we want to do offensively.”

While the Commanders needed his performance to win Thursday’s game, Robinson was the one praising his teammates for their help and support over the past two months. 

“I’m just I’m just so thankful and appreciative for all the guys in that locker room,” Robinson said. “They showed me nothing but love and care throughout that whole time. I can’t  do nothing but thank them for just helping me kind of get back on my feet and push me. Every day I came into the building, [they were] just telling me God’s got a purpose for me and just keep going. My time’s going to come. 

“I stayed true to that. I came in there, prepared every day, and now, look at us.” 

Robinson specifically gave a shout out to his quarterback, Carson Wentz, who assisted on Robinson’s first NFL touchdown by providing an eye-raising block. 

“Carson’s a tough son,” Robinson said. “That’s the second week in a row that he’s thrown me a big block from the perimeter. That just shows you Carson’s competitors spirit.” 

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