Bijan Robinson’s first NFL run was exactly what the Atlanta Falcons want out of him.
Robinson, who didn’t play in the Falcons’ preseason opener, got his first NFL preseason snaps on Friday night against the Cincinnati Bengals. On his first carry, he took it off right tackle, had a slight cut inside to get through the hole, then showed off his burst for a 12-yard gain. He made a safety completely whiff in the open field as well.
There will be plenty more runs like that for Robinson, the eighth overall pick of the NFL draft.
There was a lot to like from the Falcons’ young core on their first drive of the game.
Desmond Ridder was a little off on some passes, but his receivers helped him out. Kyle Pitts made a nice adjustment to catch a pass behind him. Robinson did the same on a screen pass, grabbing Ridder’s pass that was behind him and hauling it in with one hand. Robinson is going to be a big factor in the Falcons’ passing game as well.
Ridder is the key to the offense as he enters his second season. He did have an interception that ended the Falcons’ first drive. On third-and-goal he had a pass into coverage that was tipped straight up and picked off by defensive end Joseph Ossai.
It wasn’t all a loss for Ridder. Ridder had a great hookup with second-year receiver Drake London for a 21-yard gain down the sideline.
Ridder also scrambled for a first down on third-and-four to keep the drive alive. The Falcons didn’t get a touchdown on the drive. The Falcons were put in a hole after having first-and-goal due to holding and false start penalties, but still should have come away with a field goal. In Ridder’s defense, the Bengals could have been called for pass interference, but there was no flag. Either way, Ridder can’t turn it over that deep into an opponent’s territory. That’s a good lesson for a young quarterback.
It’s easy to be excited for the Falcons’ young core. Ridder and London are in their second seasons. Robinson is the favorite to win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Pitts is in his third season, and was just the second tight end ever to post a 1,000-yard season as a rookie. Ridder’s interception didn’t erase all of the highlights those players had on Friday. It was just a reminder that the quarterback still isn’t a finished product. The Falcons’ skill-position starters took a seat after that first drive.
The Falcons are building an exciting young core on offense. The potential was on display in Friday’s preseason game.