Just 46 days after being shot, Brian Robinson Jr. scored his first NFL touchdown as he helped the Washington Commanders beat the Chicago Bears 12-7.
The rookie running back ran in a one-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter to score what was to be the decisive score as the Commanders snapped a four-game losing streak.
In August, Robinson Jr. suffered two gunshot wounds to his lower extremities and was taken to a local hospital in what police said at the time may have been an attempted robbery or carjacking.
After a remarkable comeback story, the 23-year-old made his debut in the Commanders’ 21-17 loss to the Tennessee Titans last week.
But on Thursday night against the Bears, Robinson Jr. started for Washington, finishing with 60 yards rushing off of 17 attempts and the all-important score to help his team to a vital victory.
After the victory, Robinson Jr. paid tribute to his teammates, the coaching staff and his family for giving him the motivation to keep working towards a comeback.
“It was tough. I just had to keep my head high and focus on what I really want in my life,” he said.
“I want to be a football player, I wanted to get back on the football field so I did everything I needed to do in my power, strength-wise, mentally-wise to get myself back on the field.
“And I’m so thankful for this training staff and to everybody (in the locker room) for just helping me, pushing me everyday, giving me the extra motivation on the days I didn’t have it, just keeping me grounded to get out here with my team.
He added: “I want to tell my mom thank you, I love you. Without you I wouldn’t be here today.”
The 98th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft was back in the Commanders facility just two days after the shooting, as he began his recovery in earnest.
And it paid off as he was slotted into the starting running back role for the team by head coach Ron Rivera, his storyline the main takeaway from what was another uninspiring Thursday Night Football match.
A week after the Indianapolis Colts’ 12-9 overtime victory against the Denver Broncos, it was a slow affair again between the Commanders and the Bears as both defenses were on top.
The Commanders defensive sacked Bears quarterback Justin Fields five times – hitting him 12 times in total – while Washington quarterback Carson Wentz was sacked three times.
The Bears’ attempted comeback fell short at the one-yard line as Darnell Mooney’s catch was ruled just short of a touchdown on fourth and goal.
Fields threw for a touchdown as well as an interception, also running for 88 yards, though he said at the end of the game that he had re-aggravated an injury to his left shoulder during the loss, adding he was “hurting pretty good.”
The defeat improves the Commanders’ record to 2-4, while the Bears slip to the same record.