Bijan Robinson proving early that the Falcons were right

NFL: SEP 10 Panthers at Falcons

The Falcons flipped the script yesterday as Desmond Ridder led a fourth-quarter comeback win. Typically, Atlanta would’ve been up 12 points on Green Bay as Jordan Love led the Packers to an upset victory. This isn’t the same old Falcons, though.

Desmond Ridder deserves a ton of praise for his performance, especially in the fourth quarter, but I want to talk about Bijan Robinson for this piece. The 8th overall pick was met with a ton of criticism when the Falcons selected him.

After all, why would the club draft a running back that high after Tyler Allgeier just ran for 1,000 yards as a rookie? Well, Robinson showed why; he’s proving the club right. Allgeier and Robinson carved up Green Bay’s defense all game long. Even down 12 points, Arthur Smith didn’t go away from his bread and butter.

“They just play off each other so well,” offensive tackle Jake Matthews said. “Us five up front, we take pride in just trying to open up something for those guys … It’s fun watching them all of a sudden run by you.”

Bijan Robinson totaled 124 yards on 19 carries to go with another 48 yards through the air on four receptions. Every single time he touches the ball, he does something incredible. Robinson impacts the game in ways a traditional running back, even his teammate Allgeier couldn’t.

“He’s just a very instinctive and very smart football player,” Smith said. “We put a lot on his plate … but we had a lot of conviction that he could handle that.”

That quote speaks to the conviction the Falcons had in drafting Robinson 8th overall. With the game on the line, Robinson had his number called, converting on a pair of fourth downs, including one late in the fourth quarter.

Atlanta faced a fourth-and-1 from Green Bay’s 23-yard line, down by two points. The easy call would’ve been to trot Younghoe Koo out there to kick to the go-ahead field goal; however, Arthur Smith opted to put the ball in his playmaker’s hands.

Desmond Ridder tossed the ball to Bijan Robinson, netting a seven-yard gain, forcing the Packers to waste their final timeouts. Eventually, Koo did convert the go-ahead 25-yard field goal, leaving Green Bay with less than a minute to go.

“I felt good about the play, the way we were blocking,” Smith said. “Could have been super conservative and kicked the field goal, but there were a lot of timeouts. So I wanted to be aggressive.”

Arthur Smith is still learning as a head coach, but that was a gutsy call, and Bijan Robinson rewarded him. It’s early, but it’s safe to say he’s the face of the franchise here in Atlanta.

Photographer: Rich von Biberstein/Icon Sportswire
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