SANTA CLARA, Calif. — The game was in Allen Robinson’s hands one moment. And then it wasn’t.
All Robinson had to do after securing a first-down catch across the middle with less than two minutes to go and the 49ers out of timeouts was get tackled and the Bears’ victory over the 49ers was all but assured. Instead, 49ers rookie cornerback Tarvarius Moore came from behind and punched the ball out at the 49ers’ 34 and teammate Greg Mabin recovered at the 22 to give the 49ers one last chance with 1:52 to play.
The defense came through with a huge stop to secure the 14-9 victory at Levi’s Stadium, allowing the Bears to celebrate the big plays Robinson made instead of lamenting the one that he didn’t. Not that Robinson wasn’t kicking himself for the one miscue. It was only his second fumble in 56 NFL games, and the first one he’s lost possession.
“I’m glad we came out with the ‘W’ — I can say that,” Robinson said. “That’s on me. I’ve got to make sure I protect the ball at all costs. I can’t leave it to our defense at that point in time. We had the game won based on getting the first down. So I’ve got to just make sure I secure the ball, get the first down and win the game. I shouldn’t have left it in our defense’s hands like that.”
The Bears’ No. 1 receiver had an interesting day with six receptions for 85 yards. He suffered an injury to his midsection making a diving catch for a 43-yard gain in the first quarter and had a fumble after a nine-yard gain in the third quarter that was reversed upon video review.
And he made three third-down receptions in the second half. His 10-yard catch at the 49ers’ 10-yard line on third-and-two set up Jordan Howard’s three-yard touchdown run that gave the Bears a 14-9 lead. On third-and-four from the Bears’ 43-yard line with 3:25 to play, Robinson made a tough catch of a good, but low, throw from Mitch Trubisky for a first down that put the Bears in position to seal it.
“He had a great game,” receiver Taylor Gabriel said. “I was just telling him I felt this was one of his best games since he’s been here. For him to step up like that, after the injury, I feel like that’s big-time.”
Robinson left the game temporarily after that unidentified injury, but he was able to finish, though he appeared in pain in the locker room.
“Just a little banged up,” said Robinson, who has 55 receptions for 754 yards (13.7 yard average) and four touchdowns this season. “I hit the ground. I’m not sure what happened — my elbow or my ribs or something like that. I had the wind knocked out of me for a little bit. So I kind of figured that out . . . I was able to go back out there.”
Robinson ended up making a big impact with clutch receptions. And even after he fumbled, the defense came through to make sure it wasn’t a crushing blow.
“I knew our defense would pick us up,” Robinson said.
“We were ready to go,” linebacker Danny Trevathan said. “We know what type of player Allen is. He never makes mistakes like that. He’s a great player. Tremendous guy. Our brother. We have his back no matter what goes on.”