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Inside Slant: Trubisky-Robinson connection has best day of year

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Between coach Matt Nagy, quarterback Mitchell Trubisky and receiver Allen Robinson II, no one felt that the Bears offense played to its full potential in Sunday's 19-14 win over the Giants.

One fact is undeniable, however. The connection between Trubisky and Robinson had its most productive game of the season.

"You felt our passing game today," said Nagy.

Trubisky ended the day with 278 passing yards, his highest mark of the season. Nearly half of that total went to Robinson, who has been the offense's first option for most of the season. Trubisky said that the matchups between Robinson and the Giants secondary were favorable most of the afternoon.

"We like A-Rob in the slot," said Trubisky, "especially against the guys they had lining up over him and he did a great job getting open all day long, and if you put him in favorable matchups he's usually going to win, and the O-line did a great job giving me time, and I just got to give him the ball."

Robinson finished the day with a season-high 131 yards on six receptions, the first time he's crossed the 100-yard mark since the season-opener against the Green Bay Packers. He also added his fourth touchdown catch of the season on the opening drive of the third quarter.

"There was a little play-action with it," said Nagy. "He ran a hell of a route. A really good route. Mitch made a hell of a throw and stuck it right there, and he was able to finish after that, so it was good."

Trubisky gave Robinson most of the credit for the play.

"He just ran a great route," Trubisky said, "and the safety took the guy going over the middle, and then he ran a great route in the alley, and just put it in the spot where he could get it, and he drug the guy in the end zone. He just big-bodied him, ran a great route, and made a big play for the offense."

The Bears have now scored a touchdown on their opening drive of the second half in five straight games. The explanation as to why the offense has been so efficient coming out of halftime eludes Robinson.

"I can't pinpoint exactly what it is," said Robinson, "but whatever it is, we need to try to start the game like that. We'll put ourselves in some better positions and have some better outcomes."

While Robinson has been the team's leading receiver in seven of 11 games this season, the receiver's yardage came more explosively than previous weeks. Coming into the Giants game, the receiver was averaging 11.1 yards per reception, the lowest rate of his career. In the game Sunday, however, Robinson averaged nearly twice that number with 21.8. 

Robinson said that the change happened organically, as the Giants' defense gave him more space downfield.

"That's pretty much what they gave us," said Robinson. "We saw an opportunity. Going into any game plan, you have your short stuff. You have your deep stuff. You have your intermediate stuff, but today, for us running those plays, those things were open."

A week after the Trubisky-Robinson connection yielded only four catches for 15 yards, the two combined for catches of 15, 23, 32 and 49 yards. Receiver Anthony Miller was also able to contribute 77 yards on six catches as well.

"We were able to create pretty good separation," said Robinson. "You had some catch and run opportunities. We had open guys."

The numbers might have looked even better had Robinson's biggest play of the day, a 60-yard reception early in the second quarter, not been called back for an illegal hands-to-the-face penalty at the line of scrimmage.

While the play might have padded the Bears' winning margin and Robinson's stats, he wasn't worked up about the negated play.

"You gotta move on," said Robinson. "We've got to move on. Stuff like that happens. I mean, it's football. There could be a flag on almost every play."

Throughout the season, it has been clear that the Bears offense performs at its best when Trubisky can find Robinson downfield. Robinson, with 63 receptions, eclipsed his total from last season against the Rams a week ago. With Sunday's performance, he now has 764 yards through 11 games, 10 more than he had in 13 games in 2018.

Robinson said that the pair has worked to build chemistry over the past two seasons and that their rapport is an ongoing effort.

"It's always a continuous effort to try to improve that so that we're always on the same page," said Robinson. "We're always trying to improve what we can do."

Robinson highlighted the effort of his quarterback, including Trubisky's third-quarter touchdown run on a designed sweep, when Trubisky lowered his helmet and pushed through defenders to get in the end zone.

"He works to make plays," said Robinson. "I think that's for anybody. I'd be remiss if I didn't say that there's been frustration for a lot of people this year. Like I said before, that's not a bad thing. Guys come in to work each and every day and work hard to make plays and try to help that translate to wins."

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