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Bears need more from top 2 receivers

In Week 1, Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller looked like the team’s two brightest offensive stars. On Sunday, though, they were notable for their mistakes.

Bears receiver Anthony Miller drops a touchdown pass Sunday.
Bears receiver Anthony Miller drops a touchdown pass Sunday.
Kamil Krzaczynski/AP

It’s a play Allen Robinson usually makes.

On a third-and-four from the Bears’ 44 with about 12 minutes to play Sunday, he streaked up the right sideline and leaped for a pass from Mitch Trubisky. He reached out to cradle the ball — and it slipped between his arms.

Giants cornerback James Bradberry — who had his back to the quarterback — wrestled the ball away from Robinson, amazingly, before the two fell to the ground. What should have been a first down on the Giants’ 34 — with the Bears up by seven — turned into an interception.

“You can talk about, ‘Should the ball be further downfield or was it underthrown?’ ” coach Matt Nagy said Monday. “Normally, he’ll make that play. I have no doubt in my mind that if we get in that situation again, he will make that.”

He did just last week. So did Anthony Miller. Against the Lions, the two wide receivers totaled nine catches on 15 targets for 150 yards and a touchdown. They looked like the team’s brightest offensive stars.

Against the Giants, however, they were notable only for their mistakes.

Robinson caught three of nine targets for 33 yards. Miller had three targets and no catches, including a dropped touchdown in the first quarter that would’ve given the Bears a 14-point lead.

While the Bears’ egalitarian approach Sunday was noble — 10 players caught passes, including offensive tackle Bobby Massie on a tip, and 12 were targeted — their offense needs its best players to play like it.

Nagy stopped short of ripping the receivers room, but he wasn’t pleased. He said that after their second-half performance, he was “looking forward to seeing what they do next week.”

Robinson’s atypical performance came after a strange week. Not usually one to tout himself, Robinson was so angry about his stalled contract-extension negotiations that he scrubbed Bears references from his social-media accounts last week. He later didn’t deny that a trade had at least been broached during the negotiations.

“It’s my job to go out there and play well on Sundays and help my offense and help my team get better every week and win games,” he said last week.

Nagy didn’t think his disappointing game was related to the contract drama.

“I do feel his mind is clear,” Nagy said. “I know that Allen is a true professional. Yesterday was one of those games where you look at it, and he had, I think, eight or nine targets and three catches.

“Every game we go into, teams are going to have a plan for A-Rob. I’ll never question his effort. It was just one of those games. There were a couple of throws in play-action that we got. I know we’re all wishing right now that the second interception, he normally would come down with that.”

Miller had a worse day. The Bears had converted seven of 10 third downs when Trubisky appeared to overthrow Miller on a third-and-six out route on the left sideline in the third quarter. Miller, Nagy said, actually cut the route depth too short.

“I go back to details,” Nagy said. “And [Miller] knows it. He knows that. He understands that. He knew it right away.”

For all of Miller’s unquestioned skill, he has been dogged by detail-oriented questions throughout his three-year career. Maybe, Nagy said, the mistake was a residual effect of his first-quarter touchdown drop on a gorgeous third-down pass from Trubisky at the front left pylon.

“If he comes down with that, who knows, confidence-wise, how that turns for him the rest of the game?” Nagy said. “But that’s a part of football, being able to bounce back after a drop.

“So it just was one of those games. He didn’t have as many attempts or targets, but he’ll bounce back. I look forward to it.”