Raiders defensive end Maxx Crosby said teammate Amik Robertson looked as if he was playing a real-life video game on his 68-yard fumble return for a touchdown during Sunday’s 32-23 win over the Broncos at Allegiant Stadium.
Robertson thought it was more of a flashback.
“The ball fell into my hands, and I just went into high school Amik Robertson offensive mode,” the cornerback said. “I tried to just get in the paint and help my team put some points on the board.”
Robertson weaved his way through traffic and did just that, giving the Raiders a 16-10 lead with 3:15 left in the second quarter.
“He went straight Madden-mode and found a way,” Crosby said of Robertson, who played quarterback, running back and receiver at Thibodaux (Louisiana) High School.
The Raiders’ first defensive touchdown in 44 games was no accident. According to safety Duron Harmon, defensive coordinator Patrick Graham drove home the point all week that his players could cause fumbles if they got a helmet on the ball.
Matthew Butler had Melvin Gordon’s legs wrapped up when Harmon made a hit on the ball, which popped directly to Robertson. He did the rest.
“It’s always a great feeling,” he said. “That’s why you saw me holding the ball and talking to it like, ‘I miss you so much.’ Because coming out of college, when you always have your hands on the ball and going into the league where it speeds up, takes awhile to adjust.”
Robertson, a 2020 fourth-round pick out of Louisiana Tech, is doing just that as he continues to find his confidence at the NFL level.
The 5-foot-8-inch cornerback gave up a big play to Jerry Jeudy in the first half when he fell in coverage and Jeudy gestured to his sideline that Robertson is too small to cover him.
Robertson has a history with Jeudy, having trained together as they prepared for the 2020 draft. He admits he might have started the trash talk Sunday and said it continued throughout the game.
“I knew I was going to have a challenge with guys like him and (Courtland) Sutton,” Robertson said. “Of course he made a hell of a play, and I kind of put that on myself. But at the end of the day, I’m just going to keep trying to get better. When I’m out there, I try to play bigger than my body frame. I think that’s what I did tonight.
“I’m the kind of guy where if you beat me, you have to do it again. And he had a tough night, too. It’s all good. He’s a great player and a very competitive guy. It was fun going against him.”
There was also joy in winning, something the Raiders hadn’t done until Sunday.
“It was definitely a relief for all of us,” Robertson said. “Now we just have to keep our momentum and try to fix the little things.”
Robertson might play a big role in that. Harmon expects that to be the case.
“It’s not just today,” he said of Robertson’s ability to make a big impact. “It’s in practice, and it has been since I got here. My guy has made plays over and over again. He plays with that fiery passion that as an older guy I love to see. When he plays like that, he’s a really good football player. We fed off his energy and passion, and he’s only going to get better.”
Robertson now has a taste for winning and making big plays. It’s part of why he had the word “Wolf” painted in his eyeblack Sunday.
“A wolf is a guy that hunts,” Robertson said. “That’s just an image I want to go out there with. When I go out there, I feel like I’m out there hunting for what I want.”
He did come up short in search of his final quest of the day. Apparently, his song choice was skipped in the rotation by Crosby, the postgame locker room DJ.
“You’re never going to make everyone happy,” said Crosby, laughing. “It’s a big locker room.”
Robertson scored Crosby’s playlist as a C+ based on the snub.
Crosby’s rating of Robertson’s day was more favorable.
“I’m super fired up for Amik,” Crosby said. “A guy like that who has been working so hard and proving himself every week, I’m just happy for him.”