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Bears’ Taylor Gabriel using speed to shine: ‘Mitch, if I’m one-on-one, throw it’

Bears receiver Taylor Gabriel carries the ball Sunday. | Lynne Sladky, AP photo

When Taylor Gabriel sees single coverage at the line of scrimmage, he doesn’t signal to his quarterback. He lets Mitch Trubisky see it for himself.

“I feel like it’s on him,” Gabriel said Tuesday. “If he wants to take that matchup, he can. But at the same time when we’re in the huddle, I’ll kind of like tap him on the side: ‘Mitch, if I’m one-on-one, throw it.’ ”

Trubisky did twice for long gains Sunday, hitting Gabriel for completions of 54 and 47 yards.

“I think we match up really well with our receivers on the outside,” Trubisky said after the game. “We’ve got a lot of weapons, and we’re just trying to find exactly what everyone does well, and Taylor is a great vertical threat as well as a great route runner, along with the other guys.

“It’s within the process of finding out our identity as an offense and just figuring out what works, and that was a matchup we liked.”

No Bears receiver has benefited so quickly from his chemistry with Trubisky. Gabriel caught five passes for a career-high 110 yards against the Dolphins. The game before, he had seven catches for a then-career-high 104 yards.

The Bears have successfully converted Gabriel from a part-time player into a vital cog. He played 52.7 percent of the Falcons’ snaps last year. He’s at 79.8 this season

Gabriel, who leads the Bears with 27 catches for 303 yards, is only 75 yards removed from matching his total from last season.

“When you have more opportunities,” he said, “you kind of have the opportunity to make the plays.’’

On both deep passes, Gabriel ran a go route down the right sideline after securing a free release against the Dolphins. He used his speed — Gabriel ran 21.2 mph on the 47-yarder, per NFL Next Gen Stats — to gain just enough separation.


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“I feel like [my speed] is valuable to the offense, in the sense of . . . the scheme, the downfield throws and keeping the defense honest,” he said. “At the same time, it’s not all about speed. It’s about how you draw it up. And I feel like [coach Matt] Nagy’s been drawing it up very good this season.”

On both long gains, Trubisky threw a gorgeous, arcing pass.

“He throws a real good deep ball — a lot of touch on it,” Gabriel said. “And I feel like we’re only growing from what we’ve already did and what we’ve already put together.”