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Alabama in the Pros

Cam Robinson, T.J. Yeldon instrumental in Jaguars advancing to AFC title game

Geoff Burke - USA TODAY Sports

Facing Ben Roethlisberger, Le’Veon Bell and Antonio Brown at Heinz Field in the playoffs is no easy task by any means, but head coach Doug Marrone and the Jacksonville Jaguars pulled out an upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday to advance to the AFC Championship Game. 

After being instrumental in helping the Jaguars earn a 30-9 victory over Pittsburgh during the regular season, offensive tackle Cam Robinson returned with a clutch performance in run blocking and pass protection in a rematch.

The former University of Alabama standout cleared the way for 164 yards rushing and four touchdowns, including 109 yards from Leonard Fournette with three scores on 25 carries.

Robinson assisted in Jacksonville totaling 22 first downs and converting eight of 14 third down attempts – 57.1 percent – in a 45-42 win. 

As for Blake Bortles, the 2016 Outland Trophy winner didn’t allow a sack.  

Robinson kept him upright, which allowed Bortles to record a quarterback rating of 90 (higher than Roethlisberger’s, 53 QBR) and engineer two critical touchdown drives in the fourth quarter as the Steelers were mounting a comeback.

With Robinson, Bortles averaged 8.2 yards per attempt and the Jaguars did not commit a turnover.  

As for T.J. Yeldon, the once five-star recruit and two-time Southeastern Conference champion for the Crimson Tide played a huge role in the passing game. He led all receivers with 57 yards on three catches – including a screen pass that he turned into a 40-yard gain in the fourth quarter. 

To pair alongside his average of 19 yards per reception, Yeldon tallied 20 yards rushing on five carries with a touchdown.

The combination of he and Fournette takes pressure off Bortles and provides Jacksonville’s offensive line, which leads the NFL in rushing, to flex its muscles. 

Despite both players getting selected in the second round of their respective NFL Draft classes, Robinson and Yeldon will face Tom Brady and the New England Patriots next week in Foxborough, Mass., for an opportunity to win the Jaguars its first-ever conference title. 

Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

Stephen Smith is a 2015 graduate of the University of Alabama. He is a senior writer and reporter for Touchdown Alabama Magazine. He has covered Alabama football for 10+ years and his knowledge and coverage of the Crimson Tide's program have made him among the most respected journalist in his field. Smith has been featured on ESPN and several other marquee outlets as an analyst.

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