4-TD Robinson savors `coming-out party'

He finally makes impact with 7 catches, 131 yards

Ravens 44, Seahawks 41

Nfl Week 12

November 24, 2003|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,SUN STAFF

The Ravens didn't just get a glimpse yesterday of the big-play ability that they hoped they were getting when they signed free-agent wide receiver Marcus Robinson in the offseason from the Chicago Bears.

They got a full, two-hour-plus highlight show, one the Ravens hadn't seen from a wide receiver in some time.

The much-maligned Robinson, who made seven catches for 131 yards and four touchdowns, was front and center on nearly every big play in the Ravens' scintillating 17-point second-half comeback and 44-41 victory over the Seattle Seahawks at M&T Bank Stadium.

"It was great to see Marcus do that," coach Brian Billick said. "Marcus just needed something to happen for him. Physically, you know it's there, it's just a matter of confidence. He feels like a part of the team now."

Robinson's career-high and team-record four touchdown catches were just the beginning of the receiver's eighth career 100-yard game - his first since October 2001.

There was Anthony Wright's desperation pass on fourth-and-28 with two minutes to play that caromed off Robinson and into the hands of Frank Sanders, setting the stage for Robinson's 9-yard touchdown catch four plays later that cut Seattle's lead to 41-38.

"I didn't try to tip that, I tried to catch that ball, but praise God that Frank came across and made that play," Robinson said.

There was the 44-yard pass interference call that Robinson, who did a lot of his damage against Pro Bowl cornerback Shawn Springs, drew on Seattle rookie Marcus Trufant that preceded Matt Stover's game-tying 40-yard field goal.

Then, in overtime, Robinson's last catch - a 19-yarder on third-and-15 - moved the ball to the Seahawks' 32. Three plays later, the Ravens were in Stover's field-goal range.

Robinson said the game "seemed like a coming-out party," and it's one he needed.

"Personally, I needed this big," said Robinson, who came into the game with nine catches for 76 yards and no touchdowns. "Coming here from Chicago - knee surgery, back surgery - everybody is looking at me as injury-prone. I started doubting myself for a minute. But I kept praying, kept focusing.

"My wife kept pushing me. She will call and leave a message every game [saying], `Marcus, you're the best receiver in the NFL,' and my little girl - she's 4 years old - will be saying it right behind her. That's what you build on."

Robinson, a seven-year veteran, also was motivated by some words from his quarterback, Wright, a college teammate while at South Carolina.

"When I got in and started playing, I said, `Look, no more free paychecks for you,' " said Wright, who had a career day of his own, going 20-for-37 for 319 yards and four touchdowns. "It felt good with him. We've been waiting for him to step up to the challenge all year."

Said Robinson: "People look at us [him and Wright] as has-beens sometimes and judge us that way. But he tells me in practice every day, `When you get in there, be ready.' "

Midway through the second quarter, Wright threw a deep ball down the left sideline that Robinson got his hands on but couldn't bring in.

But after that, everything Robinson got his hands on, he caught. Doing his best Todd Heap impression, Robinson, who's 6 feet 3, leaped over Ken Lucas on the Ravens' first possession of the second half for a 13-yard touchdown that made it 17-10.

He then got inside Springs on a slant, caught Wright's pass and bounced off Seattle strong safety Reggie Tongue, who suffered a concussion on the play, for a 50-yard touchdown.

On the Ravens' next possession, Robinson outleaped Springs in the corner of the end zone for a 25-yard reception and a 34-24 game. Then, of course, there was his 9-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter that kept the Ravens alive.

"The first pass [in the second quarter], I should have caught and I was down, but Anthony came right back to me," Robinson said. "He said, `I'm going to need you and I am going to keep coming to you.' And he kept coming."

Breakout game

A look at receiver Marcus Robinson's statistics in the Ravens' first 10 games compared with his numbers yesterday (*-did not play):

First 10 games

Date...Rec. ...Yds...Avg. ...Long...TD

9-7...1...14...14 .0...14... 0

9-14...1...10...10.0...10...0

9-21...1...10...10.0...10...0

9-28...1...9...9.0...9...0

10-12...1...7...7.0...7...0

10-19* - - - - -

10-26...0...0...0.0...0...0

11-2...1...5...5.0...5...0

11-9...1...8...8.0...8...0

11-16...2...13...6.5...7...0

Totals...9...76...8.4...14...0

Yesterday

Date Rec. ...Yds...Avg. ...Long...TD

11-23...7...131...18.7...50... 4

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