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2-play sequence Sunday helps illustrate burgeoning relationship of Bears’ Trubisky-Burton

October 2, 2018

Mitch Trubisky threw for a career-high 354 passing yards Sunday. Trey Burton secured a career-high 86 receiving yards. Their vital, growing relationship on the field has never been more crystal clear than during a two-play sequence during the Chicago Bears’ opening drive of the boat-race victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4.

On second-and-10 at the Chicago 38-yard line, Trubisky was flanked by the tight end to his left and running back to his right on a read-option play. With the Buccaneers’ left end, Vinny Curry, biting hard on the mesh between Trubisky and Jordan Howard, the quarterback quickly fled, filling the void created by the undisciplined defender around the right edge on a 23-yard gain.

And it was Burton, coming across the formation immediately in front of Trubisky, who seals the edge with a block on Kwon Alexander, one of the fastest linebackers in the NFL. Trubisky is a terrific athlete at the QB position, but he might have been stopped for a short gain, much less his longest on the ground this season, without the well-executed assist from Burton.

On the next snap, now on the plus side at the Tampa 39, Burton goes in motion from left to right before Trubisky, who briefly trips on C Cody Whitehair’s foot but recovers, fakes the play-action handoff to Howard. Using an out-and-up, or double move, to shake Buccaneers second-year S Justin Evans, Burton easily uncovers down the right sideline, where Trubisky hits him with the quarterback’s long-awaited precise deep ball for a touchdown.

The Bears would score on seven of their nine remaining possessions in an absolute rout, and Trubisky would again find a wide-open Burton — this time for 47 yards — a little over one quarter later.

“It was a coverage they play,” Burton recalls of the second chunk connection. “It was zone. A-Rob (Allen Robinson) and, I think, TG (Taylor Gabriel) ran the guys off out of there. I just kind of turned around and was wide open.”

Burton would make his blocking presence felt again, too. Starting on the right wing to open the Bears’ third series, he provides the one-man entourage on Taylor Gabriel’s 10-yard jet sweep, delivering a key cut block on Bucs LB Lavonte David to help Gabriel blaze around the edge.

Burton is the Bears’ third-leading receiver, but his 16.0-yard average is the offense’s best. Frankly, he hasn’t commanded the number of targets (16) many expected to this point, but he’s now increased his yardage total in each game as a Bear and showed a bit of the versatility and playmaking he brings to the table Sunday. Burton entered his fifth NFL campaign, and first as a starter, with five combined catches of at least 20 yards. He now has four in four games as the Bears’ most effective downfield weapon.

There’s no telling what this kind of performance, and the invaluable bond this pair shared on another opening-game TD drive, can do for the burgeoning relationship between the Bears’ young QB1 and TE1. We already can tell why Ryan Pace and Matt Nagy prioritized the signing of Burton, who is already making Trubisky and the Bears’ offense more dangerous and difficult to defend.

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