It may not be the best game he's ever played, but last Sunday's efforts by Dunta Robinson in helping Atlanta beat the Redskins and improve to 5-0, is up there on the memorable moments list in his nine-year career.
"I would say it's one of (my best games)," Robinson said. "I've had some good games, but I would say that this past Sunday is one that I'll remember for a long time."
His six tackle, one interception, two defensed passes and a half-sack day was good enough to earn him a nominee for NFC Defensive Player of the Week last week.
Robinson's part in the Robert Griffin III sack in the first quarter jump-started Atlanta's day on defense. Robinson flew in from the slot corner position and combined with Jonathan Babineaux to take down RGIII. It was a hit that signaled the Falcons would continue the aggressive and physical style of play they've shown this season.
For his part, Robinson is leading the charge this year on the physical front. Finally healthy and able to work through the offseason and a full training camp, the cornerback is playing some of the best football of his life. Head coach Mike Smith thinks Robinson's health is a significant factor in his play this year.
"He's had a lot of success to start the season," Smith said. "One of the things that are very important for Dunta is that he's not missed any time all offseason. For the first two years he did not participate in our offseason and the scheme is different. We're playing some things that are probably better suited for him. I think the most important thing is he's staying healthy. In the offseason, he hasn't missed a snap in the OTAs or training camp. He's off to a great start, playing with a lot of confidence and really playing physical."
Robinson said days like Sunday are nice for the self-esteem, reminding you that you're still capable of playing at a high level in the league. Robinson's interception came at the end of the game to end a drive that could have tied things up for the Redskins. It was a savvy play by Robinson, allowing the replacement rookie quarterback Kirk Cousins to think he was going to play a certain zone and jumped to cover the tight end once Cousins locked in on the target.
Taking advantage of mistakes other teams make is what Atlanta's defense is all about. Robinson thinks this year has gone the way it has because of the presence of Mike Nolan doing the behind-the-scenes work of scheming and coming up with creative ways for players to succeed. Robinson is a player that prefers to take some chances and beat up his opponent within the rules and that's exactly how Nolan has allowed him to play this year. He's given every member of the defense the freedom to be who they are.
"Nolan's been great," Robinson said. "One thing he's done is he's allowing us to play and be ourselves as a defensive unit. He wants us to execute the game plan, but execute it the way we know how to do it. I think that's what professional football is about. You have all of these guys that are good at specific things. Lay out what you need to get done and let them do it the way they know how to do it. It's been very comfortable. He comes in with a lot of confidence when he walks into the meeting room on Wednesday, so we carry that attitude all week long that we can win any football game."