Allen Robinson posted his fourth-lowest receiving yards total and third-lowest reception total of the year in the Bears' potentially season-defining victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday.
His impact wasn't omnipresent — in a game where Mitch Trubisky, the runner, was completely unleashed and the Bears' defense, without four starters, locked down a talented Cowboys offense, there was much to cheer at Soldier Field.
But the plays Robinson made seemed to matter the most.
Early in the second quarter, it was a game-tying touchdown snare on a five-yard slant, delivered on-time and on-target by Trubisky. Then, two third-down catches on a drive that put the Bears ahead 17-7 at the half. The second of those catches was also his second touchdown of the game — with a first-and-goal from the eight yard line, the Bears had just run two futile jump-ball plays for Javon Wims.
Stagnation in goal-to-go situations has been a common lament for fans and pundits frustrated with an offense that, until the last three games, had appeared to drastically regress this season. Tonight, it was Robinson to the rescue. It's been that way all season, even without overly-gaudy receiving figures every single week. He is perhaps the most talented and accomplished skill player on the offense, and a bona fide safety blanket for his third-year quarterback.
So it's no surprise that in Trubisky's best game of the year (when factoring in the skill of the opponent and leverage of the situation) Robinson was at the heart of so many meaningful plays.
"I think for us [he and Trubisky] by having almost two seasons together, we're just trying to continue to work on whatever we can," Robinson said. Referring to the second touchdown, a play that Robinson saved from disaster by wrenching the ball from Cowboys LB, Jaylon Smith: "I knew it would be a bang-bang play. You know, that's something that we worked on all week and we knew that it would be bang-bang."
For Trubisky, it was a play that demanded and displayed the level of trust that he and Robinson have built. He, after all, had thrown an interception the quarter before into traffic on the Cowboys' side of the field.
"Just playing free. Just trusing my instincts, really trusting Allen," Trubisky said. "Really just trusting 12 [Robinson]. When I put it up in his area, he's going to come down with it."
"Those two got a connection right now... Let 'em keep doing it," Charles Leno said with a chuckle, of Trubisky and Robinson. "They look like they're just playing backyard football right now."
That must continue for the Bears, heading into a crucial stretch of the season that they've conjured from the jaws of collapse. The prevailing mantra for many in the locker room after the game was simple: One week at a time.
Well, next week the Bears travel to Lambeau Field. In the team's debaculous defeat at the hands of the Packers on opening night, Robinson was a lone silver lining (see what I did there?), hauling in seven catches for 102 yards.
"We're definitely on the verge of going up right now," Robinson said. "We're finding our groove."
It certainly appears so, and it comes just in the nick of time.