The rookie running back picked up his first career touchdown in the Redskins' 20-17 loss to the Lions on Sunday.
Had the Redskins defeated the Lions on Sunday at Ford Field, which many thought seemed a definite possibility once the team took a 17-13 lead with just more than a minute left, rookie running back Robert Kelley said he would have started "dancing or something."
"But that wasn't the case," he clarified in his next sentence.
Kelley recorded the team's first touchdown of the afternoon midway through the fourth quarter, the first of his career, which built some momentum for the Redskins in a tight but sloppy performance by both sides. The Lions' final drive, which ended with a game-winning touchdown pass, kept Kelley and the rest of the team from celebrating into the locker room.
The team's 20-17 loss put a damper on some of its players' personal accomplishments. But Kelley was still able to relay his emotions in the moment of his major milestone in the NFL, becoming the first Redskins rookie back to score his first career touchdown via reception since fullback Darrel Young did so against Philadelphia on Nov. 15, 2010.
"It felt pretty good," Kelley said. "It's something you dream about as a kid, and it actually happened for me this time."
With the Redskins trailing by 10, the offense began at their own 25-yard line and made quick work of the Lions defense. A 27-yard pass to tight end Vernon Davis put them at the 1-yard line and after running back Matt Jones got stuffed up the middle, the Redskins utilized Kelley at fullback.
A play-action boot found Kelley open running out of the backfield and parallel with quarterback Kirk Cousins, who tossed him the ball. Kelley cradled it and fell immediately into the end zone to pull the Redskins to within three points.
"Coach has done a pretty good job of putting me in here and there where he sees fit," Kelley said. "I'm enjoying the role I have here."
Check out the top images from the Washington Redskins' 2016 Week 7 matchup against the Detroit Lions Oct. 23, 2016, at Ford Field.
That was Kelley's only catch, but he did finish with 15 yards on four carries, spelling Jones with running back Chris Thompson after the team's lead back fumbled twice in the first half, once near the goal line on a drive that could have netted an early touchdown.
Kelley said he did his best to keep Jones motivated on the sideline after the mistakes.
"You try to build them up," Kelley said. "We've all been there before. In college, I did the same thing, fumbling on the one-yard line. You try to build your teammates up. He's a good running back and I'm behind him every step of the way."
Along with Thompson (who racked up season highs with 12 rushing attempts for 73 yards in addition to seven receptions for 40 yards) and Jones, the trio, which compiled 230 rushing yards last week against the Eagles, combined for 134 rushing yards and have now posted consecutive 125-plus-yard rushing performances for the first time since Weeks 1-2 of the 2015 season.
The result, of course, was disheartening. For Kelley, and the rest of the team, a loss like this stings, but it also displayed more of the resilience that has allowed the Redskins to come out on top in these close affairs more often than not. This week, however, it didn't.
"I think I feel more comfortable with this team," Kelley said. "I know we have the fight in us and you saw us come back and put up a fight at the end of the game. It just feels good going to war knowing guys have your back."