Bijan Robinson makes crazy start to NFL debut as defender is left embarrassed
Huge things are expected of Atlanta Falcons rookie Bijan Robinson and he made a sensational start to his NFL debut, scoring a spectacular touchdown against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
The former Texas college football running back was taken eighth overall by the Falcons in the 2023 NFL Draft, and he already looks like a perfect fit for Arthur Smith's run-heavy offense. Not only can he take handoffs, but he can also excel grabbing short passes.
With inexperienced quarterback Desmond Ridder under centre this season, Robinson is sure to be a huge asset thanks to his playmaking ability. And the pair combined for a brilliant score early in the second quarter.
With the Falcons in the red zone, Robinson went in motion and got open in the flat. Ridder found him with the pass, but there was still almost 15 yards and three defenders to navigate. Robinson made light work of the opportunity.
First on the scene was Panthers linebacker Frankie Luvu, but it was a horrible mismatch as Robinson displayed remarkable elusiveness, leaving the six-year veteran in his wake on the floor with a nasty juke.
With two defenders converging, Robinson put the fancy footwork aside and went the old-fashioned route. He lowered his shoulder and powered through a pair of simultaneous attempted tackles to find paydirt.
It was the opening touchdown of what promises to be an exhilarating NFL career. Robinson put the Falcons 7-0 ahead against their NFC South rivals in the process, once kicker Younghoe Koo nailed the PAT.
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Robinson had demonstrated all kinds of slick maneuvers against his own teammates during training camp, and they will now be delighted to see him use his talent against opponents in a game that counts.
"Certain dudes, you can just see the way they move," said Robinson's teammate Grady Jarrett. "The way you carry yourself. He's going to be a heck of a player.
"He's put so much tape out already through his college career but I am sure they are going to have a great plan for him. I don't see him missing a beat. The better he does, the better for the team."
Robinson finished the first half with 39 all-purpose yards, having also taken a 10-yard carry. He is splitting backfield duties with Tyler Allgeier, who himself enjoyed a productive start to Week 1 with a 22-yard rush.
With the help of Robinson, the Falcons are hoping to improve upon their 7-10 record from 2022. They haven't posted a winning record since 2017.
In a weakened division without a clear frontrunner, this could be a prime opportunity to break through.