Trubisky, Chicago Bears benefit from Robinson’s return

November 12, 2018

Bears coach Matt Nagy called Sunday’s 34-22 victory over the Lions at Soldier Field QB Mitch Trubisky’s best game, and the stats back him up, but it was no coincidence that WR Allen Robinson was back at full strength for the first time in nearly a month.

The triumph gave the Bears their second three-game win streak of the season and elevated them to 6-3, which padded their first-place lead in the NFC North over the idle 5-3-1 Vikings. The Bears host the Vikings next Sunday night, and four days later travel to Detroit for a rematch with the Lions, their third division game in 12 days.

Robinson’s presence could be a difference maker. He caught six passes for a game-best 133 yards, including touchdowns of 36 and 26 yards, doubling his season total to four. The five-year veteran aggravated a groin injury early in the Week Seven loss to the Patriots and finished that game with just one catch for four yards. He missed the next two games but showed no signs of rust in his return.

“He made a huge impact,” Trubisky said. “He’s just so hard to cover one-on-one. He’s another dynamic weapon for this offense and another guy (the defense must) account for. I’m going to continue to look for him, and when the O-line protects me and gives me time like they do, the guys on the outside are going to get open, especially Allen.

“He just knows how to use his body and run great routes that create separation. And when the ball’s in the air, it’s (No.) 12’s (Robinson’s) ball.”

There was a question about how long it would take Trubisky and Robinson to rekindle the chemistry they built earlier in the season, but they worked overtime to get back in sync.

“Just getting a lot of reps in between periods of practice,” Robinson said. “Staying after practice, stuff like that. That’s really the most important thing. Mitch is a guy who really wants to get after it, and I’m the same way.”

At 6-3 and 211 pounds Robinson can physically dominate most defensive backs, and his size is a welcoming target for the quarterback.

“Any time you have a guy that’s played the game as long as he has, he’s able to give that security blanket to Mitch,” Nagy said. “He’s a big target. You can put the ball in his area, and he’s either going to get a (pass interference penalty) or come down with the football. That comfort level of adding another guy to our offense is just another weapon, so I’m sure it helped (Trubisky) out.”

Trubisky threw for a career-high 355 yards, one more than he had in his record-setting, six-TD outing against the Bucs Sept. 30. He completed 23 of 30 passes (76.7 percent), with three touchdowns and no interceptions.

He also ran for a four-yard TD on a draw play that put the Bears ahead 26-0 midway through the second quarter and ended their 10-game losing streak in the NFC North.

“He was on fire, (and) he was efficient,” Nagy said of Trubisky. “He threw the ball with conviction, (and) his eyes were great. (I’m) really super proud of him for coming out here and playing that way. He played confident, and I like that.

Trubisky’s TD run, his third of the season, was set up when Robinson drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone against Lions CB Nevin Lawson. Later, Robinson drew a holding call on Lawson, so his numbers could have been even more impressive. But he’s already made incredible strides after missing all but three snaps of the 2017 season with a torn ACL.

Sunday was Robinson’s first two-TD game since Week 3 of the 2016 season, and his 133 yards were his most in a game since Week 16 of that season. As he gets further and further from his injuries, Robinson seems destined to become the go-to guy he was in Jacksonville in 2015 and ’16, when he caught 153 passes for 2,283 yards and 20 touchdowns.

“He’s explosive for how big he is,” Nagy said. “It’s hard for teams to press him, and then, when you play off him, he’s a big body, (and) you can throw slants, you can do different things, and he’s a good route runner.

“We’re only in Week (10) right now with those two connecting, so it’s early. “But the trust level, that meter is really starting to go up high.”

So is Trubisky’s passer rating, which now stands at 101.6.

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