CHICAGO – If you felt Sunday was a repeat, don’t worry. Such a scenario played out just two weeks earlier.
The Bears started slow against the Lions on November 10th, had a strong finish to the second quarter and start to the third to grab the lead, then held onto win a game that was too close for comfort.
Almost the exact scenario played out this Sunday against the struggling Giants, as the Bears used a big third quarter to cancel out a bad start, then held on for a 19-14 victory. Just like the entire season, it was a moment that left a bad taste even if it was a victory.
“We’d like to finish there at the end with being able to hold that fourth-and-18 play for the touchdown that they had, and then offensively get that four-minute offense where you get that 1st down on 3rd-and-1 and get some stuff going,” said head coac Matt Nagy of the team’s fifth win of the season, which most certainly falls into the “Winning Ugly” category. “We’ll grow off it.”
If you having trouble believing that, it’s OK. The Bears haven’t won back-to-back games since September and letdowns have been common for the group. That’s an easy thing to focus on when it comes to this victory on the Giants, but it’s important to remember one player whose done what many expected of him in the 2019 season.
Allen Robinson came into the 2019 season expecting to take hold of the Bears’ top receiver spot, and he’s done just that over the course of 11 games. He’s caught at least six passes in seven games this season including Sunday, where the biggest positive plays included No. 12 in them.
In the first two drives, it was Robinson that kicked off yet another strong second half start, catching a 23-yard pass then a 32-yard touchdown to give the Bears their first lead. A 49-yard gain on the next drive led to a field goal and was a part of Robinson’s six-catch, 131 yards effort in which he spearheaded the big plays on offense.
Oh, and he had a 60-yard completion in the second quarter wiped out by an illegal hands to the face penalty on Cody Whitehair or else the totals would have been higher.
“Everything was working together. I think that’s the biggest thing,” said Robinson of the offense after a sluggish start to the game. “It takes all 11 members of the offense to make a play. I think as we start rolling, we’re able to do that.”
Yet Robinson has been rolling for most of the season as he’s established himself as the No. 1 wide receiver for the team, making him one of the few hopes for 2019 that came true for the Bears. The receiver has 63 catches through 11 games, double the amount of the nearest wide receiver on the team (running back Tarik Cohen has 50). Robinson is 18 catches away from breaking his previous high of 80 in Jacksonville back in 2015.
This has all come on a Bears’ team that is still 30th in passing yards this season that’s averaging just over 190 yards per game. Sure, Robinson has endured a few slow games (see the Rams last week vs Jalen Ramsey or one catch against the Eagles) but he’s been the most consistent offensive player so far.
In games against the Packers and Saints, Robinson was the only highlight of a forgettable pair of games. His catch on a pass from Mitchell Trubisky in Week 2 against Denver with a second left saved the game and set up Eddy Pineiro’s game-winning field goal.
Robinson caught four passes on three-straight scoring drives against Detroit in Week 10 and had similar results Sunday. His receptions, especially on the team’s first touchdown drive, are a big reason the Bears weren’t upended again.
“I have ultimate trust in him. There’s not many guys in this league on the other side of the ball that I feel like he’s going to be at a disadvantage against,” said Nagy of Robinson. “Really love the way he practices and plays. He’s a really good one-on-one guy, and he also understands zones. I don’t know the exact numbers, but I think he had a pretty good third quarter.”
He had three catches for 104 yards to be exact with a touchdown at the most critical part of the game. That’s what No. 1 wide receiver does, and Robinson is that guy for the Bears, coming through when so many others haven’t in 2019.