Why WR Allen Robinson’s torrid pace is a bad sign for the Bears offense
Allen Robinson caught his second touchdown in less than three minutes to give the Bears their first lead of the game Sunday. To celebrate, the Bears receiver wound up his right arm and threw the ball three-quarters of the way up the second deck of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
“He’s a playmaker,” coach Matt Nagy said. “He’s special. He’s somebody that makes you a good coach, makes you call good plays.”
His best play, though, was yet to come. On third-and-8 from the Bears’ own 3, quarterback Chase Daniel hit Robinson down the right sideline for 32 yards. Raiders safety Erik Harris took a dead run at Robinson with the ball in the air, covering ground from inside the numbers to the sideline, and hit him as the pass arrived. Robinson hung on, though, and stayed in bounds.
“I’ve been playing this game now — I’m 26 years old — for about 20 years,” said Robinson, who caught seven passes for 97 yards and the first two touchdowns of the season. “You catch a lot of balls on the sideline.”
Robinson has caught a lot of balls — period — this season. He has 31 receptions for 377 yards this season, putting him on pace for 99 catches for 1,078 yards. That would place him fourth in franchise history in single-season catches and 11th in receiving yards. Only one Bears player ever — Brandon Marshall in 2012 — has caught more than 102 passes in a season.
Two full years after tearing his ACL in the Jaguars’ season opener, Robinson has looked like the player the Bears so desperately needed when they gave him a $42 million, three-year deal in March 2018.
“You’re seeing right now what he can do,” Nagy said. “The whole league is seeing it. And we appreciate that.
“I’ve said it from Day 1 — this kid, he comes to work every single day, he works hard, he’s passionate, he’s tough, he cares about the game. He wants to do well. He wants to win. That’s what happens when you do that.”
Robinson catching 99 balls for 1,078 yards, though, would be horrible news for the Bears. If he reaches those figures, the team certainly won’t make the playoffs.
Nagy’s offense isn’t predicated on feeding one receiver, even if he’s the best the franchise has touted since Alshon Jeffery in 2014.
Both Nagy’s quarterbacks, Mitch Trubisky and Chase Daniel, have talked openly about wanting to be the team’s point guard. That comparison is apt — when a Nagy offense is running well, it’s the Golden State Warriors, not the Houston Rockets.
A 1,000-yard receiver is like James Harden — dominant but, if you’re not careful, a one-man show.
Consider: at the Bears’ bye week, Robinson has more catches and receiving yards than the other five wide receivers on the Bears roster, combined. Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Javon Wims, Cordarrelle Patterson and Riley Ridley have 25 catches for 266 yards.
Trey Burton, the Bears tight end who should be a central part of the offense, has 11 catches for only 57 yards. He’s on pace for 35 catches and 182 yards, one year after posting 54 catches for 569 yards. Running back Tarik Cohen led the Bears with 71 catches last year; he’s on pace for 64 this season.
And then the Bears’ disturbingly inept run game, which has totaled 403 rushing yards this season. They could run for 323 yards in their next game against the Saints and still not raise their average above the 121.1 rushing yards per game the Bears finished with last year.
The Bears have a stud in Robinson, though, who’s on track to post one of their best receiving seasons ever.
But if that’s all they have, they’re in trouble.