As the Bears’ offense was struggling to find a rhythm in the season opener last week against the Packers, receiver Allen Robinson was an island of sanity in a sea of madness. His seven receptions for 102 yards were about the only semblance of the next step the offense is expected to take in the second year of coach Matt Nagy’s tenure.
‘‘I felt good; I felt really good out there,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘I felt good about the looks I got. I felt good as far as how I was lined up and what I was seeing out there. I felt comfortable.’’
Of all the Bears’ offensive narratives during the offseason, a healthy Robinson emerging as the No. 1 receiver for quarterback Mitch Trubisky is about the only one that appeared ready to come to fruition against the Packers. Last season, when Robinson was coming off knee surgery, his numbers were relatively modest (55 receptions for 754 yards and four touchdowns). Taylor Gabriel had more catches. Anthony Miller had more touchdowns. And Robinson’s yardage ranked 32nd among NFL wide receivers.
But in the Bears’ last two games, Robinson has emerged as the go-to guy he expects to be. He had 10 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown in their 16-15 loss to the Eagles in the wild-card playoff game, then stood out again with Trubisky and the offense struggling against the Packers.
‘‘We didn’t win, so more plays are needed to be made,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘My job is to go out and make plays when my number is called to help us win games.’’
As confident as he is, Robinson is too nice to gloat. Compared to receivers such as Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr., Robinson is the anti-diva. He just doesn’t fit the look-at-me reputation of the position.
‘‘Just wanting to win, I think that’s the biggest thing,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘Even dating back to college, being at Penn State, having sanctions, I really didn’t play for an actual outcome. I didn’t play for a national championship. Now, especially being in this situation — on a good team, being in a good organization — I want to win.’’
Truth be told, Robinson as the anti-diva receiver didn’t have quite the traction you’d think it would this week, considering how he contrasts with Brown. Apparently, talent trumps all at the position. While many NFL fans are annoyed that Brown wiggled his way to the Patriots, players seem to be happy for him.
‘‘Antonio Brown is probably one of the best wide receivers to ever play this game,’’ Gabriel said. ‘‘We don’t know what he’s going through. We don’t know what’s going on, so it’s hard to judge. I just wish him the best. I’m glad he’s with the Patriots, and I hope that it [works out] well for him.’’
Bears receivers coach Mike Furrey wasn’t biting on the Brown question, either.
‘‘Every wideout that’s ever played this game is a diva,’’ said Furrey, who had 98 receptions for 1,086 yards and six touchdowns for the Lions in 2006. ‘‘We all want the football. If you say, ‘Hey, this guys does this,’ go watch him play. That’ll tell you what kind of person they are. We’re all divas.’’
‘‘A little bit,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘It’s good that you guys [reporters] don’t notice. But definitely, every receiver has a little bit of diva-ness in them.’’
At receiver, the good guys have nothing against the prima donnas.
‘‘Some things come with the position,’’ Robinson said. ‘‘You’re scoring. You want the ball. Guys want to be in good situations. Guys want to do a lot of different things. For me, I just handle things a little bit differently.’’