In a season that has seen him do so much right, on a day when things went right enough for the Bears, Allen Robinson tried to explain a wrong.
The wide receiver’s P.I. penalty on two-point PAT attempt had him and head coach Matt Nagy p.i. ... er, ticked off.
The offensive pass interference infraction negated Mitchell Trubisky’s completed pass to Taylor Gabriel in the end zone. The Bears settled for a 48-yard PAT kick, which Eddy Pineiro knocked wide left of the upright in Soldier Field’s south end zone, keeping their lead over the New York Giants at 19-7 with 5:19 left in the third quarter.
Lined up on the right, Robinson ran an inside route. The Bears jet-sweeped to the right. The defense flowed to the same direction. The defender and Robinson collided.
“There is absolutely nothing I could have done differently,” Robinson said. “I had my eyes back to Mitch. You can kind of feel the defender close to you. It was bang-bang, and I was just trying to protect myself. I saw the defender coming and he was trying to run through me. He wasn’t trying to go around me. He wasn’t trying to go under. He was trying to run through me. Once I saw that, I tried to get out of his way.”
No matter, because by then, Robinson had already done his damage to the Giants in the third. He hauled in receptions from Trubisky covering 23, 32 (touchdown) and 49 (season best) yards. Robinson’s 104 receiving yards made him the fifth Bear to eclipse triple-digit receiving yards in the third quarter since 1991, with the last being Alshon Jeffery in 2013. Additionally, the third-quarter receiving yards are the most by any player in the NFL during the third quarter this season.
“Just trying to make plays,” Robinson said after the Bears’ 19-14 win. “I thought we got a lot of looks that we prepared for.”
A-Rob has had his “A” game all season. His 6 receptions for 131 yards against the Giants hiked his team-leading totals this season to 63 and 764 (4 TDs). With five games left, the second-year Bear already has better numbers than last season, when he had 55 catches for 669 yards in 13 games.
“There are not many guys in this league on the other side of the ball that I feel like he’s going to be at a disadvantage against,” Nagy said of his No. 1 wide receiver. “I really love the way he practices and plays. He’s a really good one-on-one guy, and he also understands zones.”
Robinson even had a 60-yard reception in the second quarter wiped out because of an illegal-use-of-the-hands penalty on center Cody Whitehair. But what would be a 2019 Bears season be without having to overcome self-inflicted wounds?
“For us, the biggest thing is, we got a play right after that,” Robinson said. “Of course it’s a little frustrating, any play that’s negated for you and you go backward. But the game’s got to move on and we got to make more plays.”
Whether lined up as a split or a slot, the 6-foot-3 Robinson has proved to the Bears’ best and most consistent offensive player the last two seasons and maybe general manager Ryan Pace’s best free-agent signing. His TD grab on the opening possession of the second half put the Bears up 10-7. Robinson lined up on the left, in the slot.
“We like A-Rob in the slot, especially against the guys (the Giants) had lining up over him,” Trubisky said. “He did a great job getting open all day long. If you put him in favorable matchups, he’s usually going to win.”
Robinson was a Pro Bowl selection in 2015 after catching 80 passes for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns for Jacksonville. The Bears’ 5-6 record and near-league-worst offense won’t help him get back to the game this season, but his numbers should merit consideration.
“It would be awesome, again,” said Robinson, who had a combined 153 catches in 2015 and 2016 for the Jaguars, before tearing his ACL and playing just 1 game in 2017. “But right now with the situation we’re in, my main focus is week to week. I had a great time (in 2015), my family had a great time, just being around the best players in the league, (future) hall of famers. It’s definitely a fun experience.”
For one of the few times this season, the Bears had a fun Sunday.