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Bijan Robinson, Falcons run game dominate in season-high rushing effort

The Falcons recorded a season-high 228 yards rushing, Bijan Robinson led the way with 91 yards. 

ATLANTA — Bijan Robinson wore a slight sneer when he was asked about hitting a rookie wall after the Falcons 24-15 victory over the New Orleans Saints.

Robinson understands the concept but, respectfully, he doesn't feel like it applies to him.

"I get the rookie wall. You're in a long, long season. You're in a long time since you've had a break of anything," Robinson said. "But at the same time you're doing what you love to do, you know you're doing what you're blessed to do."

The first-year pro led the Falcons season-high rushing performance (228 yards) with 91 yards on 16 carries. He averaged 5.7 yards per carry. That marks the fourth time Robinson recorded at least 90 yards on the ground and the first time he did so in back-to-back games.

As it stands through Week 12, Robinson has officially played a full college regular season, but he feels great. Without the daily grind of being a student-athlete, he said he's able to find more time to get treatment in order to keep him game ready. It also helps when you have Tyler Allgeier and Cordarelle Patterson in the backfield, too.

"I appreciate Tyler and CP, those are my dogs," Robinson said. "It's fun to play off each other like that."

Allgeier was second in rushing yards on Sunday with 64 yards on 10 carries against the Saints. Patterson followed with 43 yards on eight attempts. Quarterback Desmond Ridder added 30 yards on the ground. Each of them broke free for a double-digit attempt, but Robinson's 17-yard run was the longest of the day.

To this point, Allgeier and Robinson carried a similar usage, but Sunday's game was the first time the three running backs rotated to this extent. Patterson only had more carries in the Falcons win in Tampa Bay, a game where Robinson's usage was limited due to illness.

Head coach Arthur Smith said the trio of backs will "all be involved" through this crucial stretch of the Falcons season where Atlanta will face all three divisional opponents one final time. The Falcons now sit atop the NFC South after Sunday's win with an undefeated 3-0 record against divisional opponents.

Staying fresh will be key as the regular season winds down, and that word was used by both Robinson and Smith after the win to describe the run-game rotation.

"All three of us going, rolling it just made us all fresh at the end of the day," Robinson said. "At the end of the game, we came out our legs is good."

Robinson added that his legs felt fresher compared to other weeks. So fresh that when the rookie caught the longest touchdown pass of his early career in the fourth quarter he just kept running, past the endzone and deep into the tunnel.

The Falcons' three-headed rushing attack was teased throughout the season but it seems it is now emerging when Atlanta needs it the most.

"I think that (if) we keep doing that and keep just playing off each other it's hard to stop us as an offense," Robinson said. "It opens up so much stuff that we want."

Get an inside look at the matchup between the Atlanta Falcons and the New Orleans Saints during Week 12.

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