Seahawks' Robinson has crucial piece of offensive puzzle
Just to be clear, Robinson was doing this on purpose.
While Marshawn Lynch rightly received a lot of credit for his 109-yard performance, and while the young offensive line, which continues to improve, also played a big role in the victory, one of the unsung heroes from Seattle's 22-17 victory was Robinson.
As a bona fide linebacker-seeking, run-blocking fullback, Robinson is something of a dying breed in the NFL.
With offenses becoming more and more reliant on the pass and using more multiple tight end sets, the position often left off the field is the fullback. Yet to accomplish what the Seahawks did last weekend, what they hope to do every week, a player like Robinson is a crucial piece of the puzzle.
"That's a unique position," Seahawks coach Pete Carroll said. "There aren't very many fullbacks in the league that are really long-time, pro fullbacks. There are a lot of people getting away from it and they're hard to find, and most of them are playing linebacker and they want to stay over there.
"But really, (Robinson) has his own little niche of things that he does that nobody else can do and so he has great value to us. He's a really smart football player. He played his best game since we've been here, his toughest game and most effective. So he's a big deal for us."
And make no mistake, Robinson isn't just some brute who spends his days butting heads with people. The guy is a big-time athlete. He started his college career at Penn State as a quarterback, played some receiver and running back, then went back to quarterback as a senior and led the Nittany Lions to an Orange Bowl.
"The crazy part about it, my freshman year, after my first couple of practices in the preseason, Joe Paterno told me, 'Stick with it, but to be honest with you, Mike, you'll probably be an NFL running back or fullback, but you're our best quarterback.'" Robinson said.
Robinson began his career as a running back in San Francisco, but after the 49ers released him prior to last season, the Seahawks were quick to snag the powerful back who is also a special teams ace. Robinson was made into a full-time fullback in Seattle, and if last weekend was any indication, his role should only increase in the future.
"I really appreciate the job that he did, but I see that week in and week out -- not against Ray Lewis -- but when he does have the opportunity to go in and put his head on somebody, he always does it," said Lynch, whose first-quarter touchdown run went through a hole created when Robinson took Lewis out of the play.
"He's always in the right place, he always knows what's going on. And if there's a check coming, he always knows the check before T-Jack makes it. 'Mike Rob' (has) already seen it and sniffed it out. ... It's just great to see what he's doing."
And while Robinson's impact on the offense was more noticeable Sunday, he has been a huge part of special teams play since coming to Seattle. As a captain of that unit this season, he was encouraged by the group's play Sunday. Unlike last year, when special teams was the team's biggest strength, the Seahawks have been up and down -- mostly down -- in that area this season. But on Sunday, the kick-coverage team forced two fumbles, one by Robinson, that played a big part in the win.
"We hadn't done a great job on special teams in the previous weeks, so we felt like we needed to get the ball up off of those guys," Robinson said. "We didn't expect to do it twice, but it happened."
As for his afternoon of crashing into a future Hall of Famer, Robinson said it was an honor. Robinson realized he had more than held his own against Lewis when, upon returning to the locker room after the game, he saw his cell phone lit up with text messages and voicemails. But in addition to pride in his performance, Robinson was feeling something else Monday morning as well.
"Sore, sore, sore," he said with a grin.
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
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