Demarcus Robinson may have earned himself millions with one catch
By Scott Loring
Demarcus Robinson did something so breathtaking in Sunday’s game that he may have (single-handedly?) changed his entire future in a matter of seconds.
The Kansas City Chiefs’ home opener did not disappoint.
Despite several key injuries, the venerable Kansas City offense left us breathless. Patrick Mahomes continues to stump every NFL defense in his path. The rest of us stand in awe. As fans try to reminisce on every marvelous thing that happened just yesterday, the little things get lost in the magic of Mahomes. All in all, 61 points were scored on a drenched field at Arrowhead on Sunday, and there is much to unpack for each team.
We’ve exhausted the different ways to describe Mahomes. He continues to hit receivers in stride, putting them in great position to succeed. Sunday, however, one play stands out, not for what the quarterback did, but how his target made a play on the ball.
Demarcus Robinson has persisted in his dream to become an NFL wide receiver. He spent most of his life awaiting his NFL opportunity, growing up as the nephew of former Bears receiver Marcus Robinson. The fourth-year man out of Florida didn’t catch a pass as a professional until Week 3 of his second season. All the while, Robinson waited patiently. He didn’t sniff the end zone until his third season. And in this 2019 campaign, he is making his final case to earn his second NFL contract next summer.
As a member of the same draft class as Tyreek Hill, Robinson has spent most of his pro career in Hill’s proverbial shadow. Another obstacle was the selection of fellow receiver Mecole Hardman in this year’s draft. But as this game often goes, the Week 1 injury to Hill created an opportunity for the young receivers to step up. Week 2 at the Raiders gave us a taste of what could be in store, as Robinson ripped the Oakland secondary to the tune of 6/172/2. It was a true breakout performance.
For all the fantasy football players who had Robinson in their starting lineup against the Ravens, he didn’t exactly dominate the box score: 3 catches for 43 yards and a touchdown.
Reading that line, it’s really just a ripple in the wake of his breakout performance in Oakland just one week prior. But the box score doesn’t do it justice. No. In fact, Robinson may have done something so breathtaking in yesterday’s game that he may have (single-handedly?) changed his entire future in a matter of seconds.
Cut to the scene: Chiefs 7, Ravens 6. 8:02 left in the 2nd quarter. Mahomes and the record-setting Chiefs offense have largely been stymied by the vaunted Baltimore defense, but have 1st-and-10 at the Baltimore 18-yard-line.
As Mahomes drops back to pass, Ravens safety Chuck Clark comes in on a blitz. Out of respect for Travis Kelce, Ravens all-everything safety Earl Thomas slides up in coverage, leaving Robinson one-on-one with former Kansas City cornerback Brandon Carr. Clark is unaccounted for on his blitz, and Mahomes is forced to uncork one to the corner off his back foot.
The ball sails to the corner of the end zone, with a lot more air under it than most passes that come from the rocket arm of the 2018 NFL MVP. As Carr takes inside positioning, Robinson breaks on a corner route, and from there, Carr doesn’t even have a chance. With three yards of separation, the 6’1″ Robinson vaults into the air and makes the only play he can possibly make: he clutches the ball with his right hand and secures it. Two feet down.
Touchdown, Kansas City.
The momentum of the play itself carried Robinson into the first row of the Arrowhead crowd, which, of course, was going completely bananas by virtue of what they just witnessed.
We’re all of a sudden very spoiled in Kansas City. We’re becoming rather accustomed to these gazelles in red springing wide open all over the gridiron, the benefactors of the astute offensive mind of Andy Reid and the <insert adjective here> spectacle that is Patrick Mahomes. So it was invigorating to see someone else manufacture the play. You see reserves like Hardman or Robinson make a sensational play and are left thinking, “How high can this team climb?”
The Chiefs now enjoy a two-game lead in the AFC West. Robinson and Hardman afford Kansas City a great luxury in not needing to hurry Hill back from his injury. Everything Mahomes touches turns to gold, and NFL defenses still have no answer for the Chiefs offense.
Robinson has already exceeded the expectations we had hoped for former Chiefs receiver Chris Conley—an athletic reserve who could make plays when called upon. A robust athlete in his own right, Conley left for richer pastures and new opportunities last spring. Robinson could potentially see similar offers when his rookie contract expires next spring.
It was one thing to see Kansas City pick apart the Raiders in Week 2 without some key players in the lineup. But in his encore performance, even with just a few seconds of film, Robinson may have catapulted into another topic of discussion as a part of the 2020 free agent class. Between now and then, he and the Chiefs remain focused on one goal: bringing the Lombardi Trophy to Kansas City.