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Making His Mark: Rookie LB Robinson Makes Presence Felt vs Ravens



Mark Robinson The Pittsburgh defense lines up as the Steelers face the Ravens on Jan. 1, 2022 in Baltimore. (Mitchell Northam / Steelers Now) m

After allowing 215 yards rushing in their previous meeting, the Pittsburgh Steelers No. 1 priority coming into Sunday night’s game was to shut down the Baltimore Ravens’ vaunted run game, and they came with some new wrinkles, including a heavy dose of rookie linebacker Mark Robinson. And while it wasn’t completely a dominating performance, the Steelers held Baltimore at bay, which was good enough to pull off a 16-13 victory to keep their playoff hopes alive.

The Steelers allowed 120 yards rushing, which was the fourth-worst rushing outing by the Ravens this year. J.K Dobbins broke off some big runs in the first half, but the Steelers regrouped at halftime and made the proper adjustments.

“Whooped blocks, make tackles,” Mike Tomlin said in his postgame press conference about containing the Ravens’ run game in the second half. “Like we talked about during the week, we had to throw a little bit more schematics at them, and we did.”

The schematic changes included implementing DeMarvin Leal and Mark Robinson in the starting lineup. At times, the Steelers even ran a 3-5 front, which is uncommon at the pro level.

“Can’t say enough about young guys like Leal and Mark Robinson stepping up,” Tomlin said. “And the reason why we played them is, although they lack experience, the type of game we were in lended itself to their approach to ball. They’re combative, confrontational young people, and it was needed.”

So, has Robinson leaped over Devin Bush and Myles Jack on the depth chart? Not necessarily, as it depends on the opponent.

“Man, we’re going to do it week to week to give us the best chance of winning,” Tomlin said about the division of labor at inside linebacker. “We’ve got a collection of men that we think are all capable. We divide the labor up appropriately based on game circumstances, so we’ll deal with that next week. If he’s helpful to us, we will.”

Robinson recorded seven tackles (two solos), which was the third-most on the team. It was noticeable early on that Robinson’s downhill style was a better fit against Baltimore than Bush.

“Any time we walk out of here with a dub, I’m all for it,” Robinson said on getting a win in his first career start.
Robinson takes a lot of pride in knowing that he played a big role in stopping the Ravens’ run-heavy scheme.

“Just knowing the role it carries and the weight that position carries. It’s always a great challenge and opportunity to go out there and get it done,” Robinson said.

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