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Quick hits: Robinson and Miller find end zone, big night for tight ends


On Thursday night, the Bears were able to find the offensive rhythm that has lifted the team to three straight victories, and for the third straight game, that involved the Allen Robinson II-Anthony Miller two-front attack.

While neither receiver crossed 100 yards this week, the pair accounted for all three of the quarterback Mitchell Trubisky's passing touchdowns, including Miller's first of the season.

While Trubisky's performance might have been the story Thursday night, Robinson believes that the quarterback's success is due to the fact that he's finally getting the help around him that he needs.

"I think the biggest thing is that we've been able to get everything aligned more," said Robinson. "Our receivers have been making plays, our catch-and-run plays and we set up some screens today. So, everybody is doing a lot."

Robinson proved to a valuable goal-line weapon, hauling in touchdowns from five and eight yards out. On his second score, Robinson had to tussle for the ball with Cowboys linebacker Jaylon Smith. The play was ruled a simultaneous catch by both sides, which by rule goes to the offensive player.

Robinson finished the day with five catches for 48 yards.

Miller, who led the team with seven touchdowns last year as rookie, has used the past five games to solidify himself as the Bears' No. 2 receiver, including a 140-yard performance last week against the Detroit Lions. However, the end zone had eluded him until Trubisky dumped the ball to him in the flat 14 yards out on the opening drive of the third quarter. 

Miller exploded through contact from two defenders to spin into the end zone.

"I just knew I had to get there, man," said Miller, "There was no way I was getting tackled inside the five with the possibility of making a touchdown."

Miller finished the day with three catches for 42 yards.

While the passing game has gone in fits and spurts through the first half of the season, Robinson said that the team has always known that things would come together and has kept the same outlook throughout the ups and downs of the season.

"I don't think that the confidence as far as this team has ever really wavered," said Robinson.

A night for tight ends: J.P. Holtz and Jesper Horsted left the field against the Cowboys with the first and second most productive games by a Bears' tight end this season.

Holtz made his mark in the first half, catching three passes for a team-leading 56 yards. He set up a field goal in the second quarter by gaining 30 yards on a screen pass.

"Set up perfect," said Holtz. "Been practicing all week, we got the look we wanted. I was a little surprised how open it was."

Prior to Thursday night, Holtz was mostly used as a fullback on running plays, but proficiency in the receiving game helped the Bears build an early lead. Trubisky felt that the play of the tight ends opened up the field for the offense all night.

"We need the defenses to respect all our playmakers out on the field," said Trubisky. "The tight end group has done a great job stepping up. J.P. and Jesper, just filling in that role, making big plays. J.P. had a huge screen early on in the game. With a front like that, I think that keeps them honest the rest of the game, that they have to be alert for screens, can't just go out for the pass every time."

Horsted added a career-high four catches for 36 yards.

Next man up: After a remarkably healthy season a year ago, the 2019 Bears have had their fair share of injuries, including linebacker Roquan Smith leaving Thursday night's game after suffering a pectoral injury on the first drive of the game.

Once again, the Bears' depth on defense has paid off, as Kevin Pierre-Louis stepped in for Smith, proving a steady hand as the Bears defense stymied the Cowboys for the rest of the first half.

Coach Matt Nagy told reporters after the game that "it didn't look good" for Roquan, but that general manager Ryan Pace had accumulated enough talent to withstand the setback.

"It could be a big loss," said Nagy. "Again, the way that Roquan has been playing in the last couple weeks, flying around, making plays, you just love that confidence that he's bringing to the defense. The depth that Ryan and his guys have created on this roster allows someone like KPL, Kevin Pierre-Louis, to step up and make plays. You feel bad for Roquan, but we know that we have guys that can fill in. We had a lot of different guys that stepped up for guys that were injured tonight. That's a good thing to have that depth."

Pierre-Louis and Nick Kwiatkoski received praise in Week 4 after the two combined to fill in when Smith was a late scratch against the Vikings. With Kwiatkoski starting the past two games in place ofDanny Trevathan, the Bears will be relying on former reserves for both inside linebacker positions.

That prospect doesn't worry the other starters on the team.

"We've got a lot of confidence in those guys," said safety Eddie Goldman, "We feel like when somebody goes down we expect them to make the same plays. Of course, they did."

Pierre-Louis said that he prepared all season for the time when he'd be called upon. He said that he did not feel any nerves going into the game.

"In those moments," said Pierre-Louis, "there's no time to think like that. You've just got to be there for your brother, then just go with what you've been practicing each week. I'm blessed to have the guys around me to help me out if I need help somewhere."

Pierre-Louis said that the defensive scheme and the personnel around him made his job easier throughout the game.

"This defense works for everybody," said Pierre-Louis, "all 11 guys on the field, the guys that are on the sidelines. So we know whenever someone comes in, we all have each other's back."

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