Why WR Allen Robinson’s torrid pace is bad sign for Bears’ offense

Allen Robinson catching 99 balls for 1,206 yards would be horrible news for the Bears. If he reaches those figures, the team certainly won’t make the playoffs.

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Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson celebrates a touchdown with quarterback Chase Daniel on Sunday against the Raiders.

AP

Wide receiver Allen Robinson caught his second touchdown pass in less than three minutes to give the Bears their first lead Sunday. To celebrate, he wound up his right arm and threw the ball three-quarters of the way up the second deck of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London.

“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-eight from the Bears’ 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 inbounds.

“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 hisfirst 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, putting him on pace for 99 catches and 1,206 yards. That would put him fifth in catches and sixth in receiving yards for a season in franchise history. Only one Bear — Brandon Marshall in 2012 — has caught more than 102 passes in a season.

Two years after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament in the Jaguars’ season opener, Robinson has looked like the player the Bears so desperately needed when they gave him a three-year, $42 million 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 and he cares about the game. He wants to do well. He wants to win. That’s what happens when you do that.”

Robinson having 99 receptions for 1,206 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 had since Alshon Jeffery in 2014.

Both of Nagy’s quarterbacks, Mitch Trubisky and Daniel, have talked openly about wanting to be the team’s point guard. That comparison is apt — when Nagy’s 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 combined. Taylor Gabriel, Anthony Miller, Javon Wims, Cordarrelle Patterson and Riley Ridley have 25 receptions for 266 yards.

Tight end Trey Burton, 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, a year after having 54 receptions for 569 yards. Running back Tarik Cohen led the Bears with 71 receptions last year; he’s on pace for 64.

And then there’s the Bears’ disturbingly inept running game, which has totaled 403 yards. The Bears 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 they finished with last year.

The team has a stud in Robinson, though, who’s on track to post one of the franchise’s best receiving seasons.

But if that’s all the Bears’ offense has, the team is in trouble.

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