Allen Robinson has played well during his career, despite not always (or ever) having a great quarterback thawing him the football. Now that he has a great quarterback, expectation were high for 2022.
In Week One, the expectations were unfulfilled.
Robinson had one catch for 12 yards. He was targeted only twice, with the second coming on a last-gasp throw to the end zone with under a minute to play.
“I’d like to get Allen more involved,” coach Sean McVay told reporters after the game. “[I’d] like to get a lot more guys involved. But like I said, overall, it was a tough night for us and it was a poor night in terms of the overall decision making from my standpoint. That’s something that I’m looking forward to correcting.”
Once again, Cooper Kupp got the bulk of the attention from quarterback Matthew Stafford. He was asked after the game why it seemed Robinson wasn’t open more often. Stafford said the Bills played a lot of zone defense, with limited man coverage. (And no blitzing at all.)
“They clouded the boundary quite a bit,” Stafford said. “Allen saw a lot of cover two over there. I can still do a better job I think of getting him the ball in some instances, but they were doing a nice job of trying to keep a top on it and trying to cover us up.”
Stafford added that it was a “basic coverage.” And it was. Cover two, cover three. Four-man rush. Seven players dropping into the various zones and lanes. An umbrella that kept anyone from getting open deep.
“I hadn’t seen that in a while,” Stafford said of Buffalo’s defensive approach. “We hadn’t got that in a long time, but didn’t feel like that was a reason that we were holding on to it or anything.”
McVay attributed the overall struggles in the passing game, which included seven sacks, to a “combination of things.” He wondered whether he gave the Bills too much of an opportunity to “tee off” with their four-man pass rush. He also acknowledged that, because the Rams had to use a silent count, the Bills at times were able to jump it.
The ultimate explanation for Robinson’s relative lack of involvement may be simple. With Stafford feeling a little confused and rattled by the situation, he opted to go with familiarity. And, by far, his biggest familiarity rests with Kupp, who was targeted 15 times and had 13 catches.