For the third game in a row, Jaguars rookie running back James Robinson was one of the few bright spots on offense.
Robinson continues to plow forward in more ways than one with his improbable story as a rookie free agent from an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision school. Had it not been for a penalty, he would have had his second 100-yard game and the NFL’s offensive rookie of the month for September settled for 75 yards on 15 carries and four pass receptions for 32 yards in the Jags’ 33-25 loss to Cincinnati on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
After Jaguars offensive coordinator Jay Gruden admitted last week that he may have neglected using Robinson on the ground more in a 31-13 loss to Miami on Sept. 24, his game plan against Cincinnati was clear at the outset: he was going to try to pound the Bengals, next-to-last in the NFL in run defense, with heavy doses of the 5-foot-9, 219-pounder who has never gone to the ground easily in his short pro career.
Gruden called Robinson’s number on the first two Jaguars plays from scrimmage, and three of the first round, for a total of 16 yards. In the second quarter, Robinson had four carries for 22 yards and turned a short pass from quarterback Gardner Minshew into a 14-yar gain, leading to an Aldrick Rosas field goal.
By halftime, Robinson has 11 carries for 48 yards and two receptions for 21 yards. The Jaguars led 13-10. However, his best play wound up not counting. After the Bengals scored to open the third quarter to take a 17-13 lead, Robinson took a handoff from Minshew and burst through a hole to the left opened up when fullback Bruce Miller and pulling guard A.J. Cann delivered crunching blocks.