Demarcus Robinson has never missed playoffs, he reminds Rams


He has more playoff experience than Aaron Donald. More than Cooper Kupp. More than quarterback Matthew Stafford or any other Rams player.

Since first making an NFL roster in 2016, receiver Demarcus Robinson has never missed the postseason.

He made it six times with the Kansas City Chiefs — including two Super Bowls — and last season with the Baltimore Ravens.

Now Robinson, who is playing on a one-year, veteran-minimum contract, is looking to keep alive the streak with a Rams team that has vaulted into playoff contention.

“Yeah, man,” Robinson said, laughing, Wednesday. “That’s why I’m like, ‘Hey guys, we got to step it up around here.’ ”

Robinson has been instrumental in the Rams’ surge to an 8-7 record and the No. 6 seed in the NFC. He caught four touchdown passes in the last four games and has teamed with Cooper Kupp, rookie Puka Nacua and Tutu Atwell to give coach Sean McVay and Stafford multiple options.

“He’s just been so steady, so consistent,” McVay said, adding, “You talk about maximizing your opportunities — he’s done that.”

On Sunday, the Rams play the New York Giants (5-10) at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. If the Rams defeat the Giants and the San Francisco 49ers in the season finale, they are assured of returning to the playoffs after a one-year absence.

But the Rams could clinch a playoff spot as soon as Sunday if they beat the Giants and get some help.

Rams receiver Demarcus Robinson runs for yardage after a catch.

Rams receiver Demarcus Robinson runs for yardage after a catch.Times)

(Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)

If the Rams win and the Seahawks lose to the Pittsburgh Steelers in Seattle, the Rams are in. The Rams also would earn a berth if they win and the Green Bay Packers and Minnesota Vikings play to a tie.

Robinson said he has attempted to share with younger teammates what he learned from seven consecutive runs to the playoffs: Playoff teams are in playoff mode before the postseason.

“Just mentally be more focused right now,” he said. “Like, get deeper into it. … You have to think about it in that mind-set.”

Robinson, 29, played at Florida and was selected by the Chiefs in the fourth round of the 2016 draft. In 2020, his most productive season, he caught 45 passes for 466 yards and three touchdowns.

Robinson did not catch a pass in the Chiefs’ Super Bowl LIV victory over the 49ers to cap the 2019 season. The next year he had an 11-yard reception in the Chiefs’ defeat to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Super Bowl LV.

Last season Robinson caught a career-best 48 passes for the Ravens. In a wild-card defeat to the Cincinnati Bengals, he caught a touchdown pass, giving him 16 receptions for 269 yards and two touchdowns in 14 playoff games.

With Kupp coming off ankle surgery, the Rams signed Robinson to add depth to a position group that included Atwell and Van Jefferson and untested rookie Nacua.

Nacua broke out in record-setting fashion, and Jefferson and Atwell also started as Kupp worked through a hamstring injury that sidelined him the first four games. In October, the Rams traded Jefferson to the Atlanta Falcons.

Robinson waited patiently for his opportunity. It came in a Week 9 defeat to the Packers, when he caught one pass for 15 yards. And he has built on the opportunity.

Robinson has 20 catches for 279 yards, including touchdowns against the Cleveland Browns, Ravens, Washington Commanders and New Orleans Saints.

“I’ve never had a stretch where I went four weeks in a row of straight touchdowns,” said Robinson, who scored touchdowns for the Chiefs in each of the last three games of the 2018 season. “It feels great to just be a part of the team and help the team win.”

Robinson has been particularly effective when Stafford escapes the pocket to avoid pressure. In last Thursday night’s 30-22 victory over the Saints, Stafford and Robinson combined for a 32-yard gain that set up Robinson’s four-yard touchdown catch.

Receivers and Stafford go over potential extended-play scenarios during practice “and make it come to life” in games, Robinson said.

“When I’m putting the ball in his area, he’s doing a really nice job of making the catch,” Stafford said, adding. “Just happy for him. And the more guys that we can get playing at a high level the better we’re going to be.”

Robinson’s energy is “super infectious,” said Nacua, who is approaching NFL rookie records for catches and yards receiving.

“As soon as you walk around him, you know that D-Rob is near,” Nacua said. “You can feel the confidence he plays with.”

Robinson is one of several veteran-minimum players providing the Rams with maximum returns. Before the season, general manager Les Snead signed Robinson, cornerback Ahkello Witherspoon, safety John Johnson III and linebacker Troy Reeder to one-year, $940,000 contracts.

Witherspoon has started every game and has a team-best three interceptions. Johnson worked himself into shape, eventually into the starting lineup, and has two interceptions in the last four games. Reeder has started five games and is a special teams mainstay.

Robinson aims to continue his recent success and help the Rams return to the playoffs. He knows his playoff streak is a rare feat. So he values every opportunity.

“I’m just trying to keep it going,” he said.

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