As the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers prepare to face each other for the second time this season, it's worth re-visiting their first matchup of the year. Seven weeks ago, the Falcons escaped with a 16-13 win over the Bucs, but the big takeaway from the game was the presence, or lack thereof, of Falcons rookie running back Bijan Robinson. Robinson played only 11 snaps and had just one touch all game, a 3-yard rush with under a minute to go in the game, as the Falcons were positioning themselves for a Younghoe Koo game-winning field goal. Strangely, Robinson did not appear on Atlanta's injury report ahead of the game.
Following the game, Robinson's health was a major topic of conversation, especially since the Falcons had been so tight-lipped on his condition heading into the game. Robinson was back at Falcons practice a few days later, and he's logged at least 11 touches in every game since then. So what was the issue?
“At the time, Robinson said he was ‘feeling weird' on Saturday night, and that by Sunday morning he was ‘feeling completely out of it,'” Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk wrote. This only becomes a problem because the Falcons failed to list Robinson on the injury report. The Cincinnati Bengals faced a similar predicament with the injury to Joe Burrow's wrist, but they were quickly cleared. We're almost two months removed from the initial incident with Bijan Robinson, and the situation continues to be under review, per Florio.
“Given the speed with which the league found that the Bengals did not hide quarterback Joe Burrow’s wrist injury, the fact that seven weeks have transpired since Falcons-Buccaneers suggests that something could happen beyond, ‘Nothing to see here.' The challenge for the NFL becomes balancing the urgency to enforce its rules against the potential liability from gamblers who had placed wagers on Robinson props (total yards, rushing yards, touchdowns, etc.) based on the notion that he was perfectly fine and would have no limitations on his use.”
Not only were gamblers impacted by the lack of news regarding Robinson's health status before the game, but you could also argue that by not disclosing his illness, the Falcons gave themselves a competitive advantage over their NFC South rival in a game they wound up winning.