The Saints defensive back made the key play of the game. He intercepted Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in the endzone midway through the second quarter. The score was tied 14-14 and the turnover resulted in a touchback, giving the Saints an opportunity to score again. Quarterback Drew Brees drove the offense down the field for a touchdown. This made it 21 unanswered points for New Orleans in the process.
Patrick Robinson Makes an Impact
A League Veteran
Patrick Robinson landed back in New Orleans following a successful stint with the Philadelphia Eagles during their Superbowl winning campaign. He started all 16 games for the Eagles in 2017 and made a game-changing interception in the teams NFC Championship victory over the Minnesota Vikings. The 50-yard interception returned for a touchdown kick-started the Eagles landslide victory en route to Lombardi Trophy glory a few weeks later.
New Orleans picked up the phone and struck a deal with Robinson in free agency of 2018. Ensuring a return to the franchise that selected him 32nd overall in the 2010 NFL Draft. The Saints first draft pick as Superbowl champions. Robinson was drafted as an additional takeaway threat on an opportunistic championship-winning defense.
The cornerback was solid, but unspectacular on a defense that declined as a unit throughout his stay in New Orleans. Robinson was let go after his fifth-year option year expired.
Return to New Orleans
Robinson bounced around on one-year deals with the San Diego Chargers and Indianapolis Colts in 2015 and 2016 respectively. With Philadelphia in 2017, the corner intercepted four passes over 16 games in arguably his best year as a pro.
New Orleans brought Robinson back into the franchise as a leader in the locker room for a young secondary. The Saints had just lost to the Vikings in the Divisional Round of the 2017 playoffs. The game made famous for a very high profile mistake in the New Orleans secondary from rookie safety Marcus Williams. The missed tackle that resulted in the Minneapolis Miracle for the Vikings.
Williams and All-pro rookie corner Marshon Lattimore was still young but heavily relied on in the Saints secondary. Robinson added some leadership and veteran know-how to the squad. However, Robinson suffered a broken ankle in Week 3 of the 2018 season. On his return to the team in 2019, he was used sparingly. Dressing for 11 games, and only making 16 tackles. He failed to record a turnover all year. The Saints young core now had more experience, impacting Robinson’s playing time.
Patrick Robinson Back With a Bang
Injuries to Lattimore and Janoris Jenkins thrust Robinson into the starting lineup against the Lions. His first since breaking his ankle in 2018. The veteran wasted little time in making an impact. His interception of Stafford came with the New Orleans defense on its heels, backed up 11 yards from their own endzone. The game tied at 14 apiece, a touchdown for the Detroit on the drive would have likely set up a shootout for the rest of the game.
On a jump ball in the endzone, Robinson had the awareness to locate the ball and instincts to make a play on it. He displayed the ball skills and athleticism that made him a first-round pick a decade ago, acrobatically leaping in-front of Lions tight-end T.J Hockenson to intercept the pass.
It was one play in a 10-year career. One that may be forgotten in the grand scheme of things. However, in his first start for two years his team were on a two-game losing streak. In addition, the Saints were battling several injuries in the secondary. Robinson stepped up and made an impact.
Championship teams are held together by depth in quality. Patrick Robinson showed on Sunday New Orleans has that depth.
Embed from Getty Images