Sideline savior Allen Robinson bolsters sagging Bears offense

Gene Chamberlain

The Bears have hardly been the darlings of fantasy football so far but wide receiver Allen Robinson is starting to pay off for those fantasy owners who took a gamble on a player who didn't quite have elite numbers his first year with the Bears.

Robinson has 31 catches and now looks far stronger than last year when he had rehabbed from an ACL tear. It's showing up in the form of acrobatic sideline receptions in almost every game.

Robinson has been going vertical and doing a toe dance along the sidelines all season, especially the last two games.

"I'm going to make the play, that's always been my mindset," Robinson said. "Again, I mean that's what I like to put on the quarterback: 'If you give me a shot I'm going to make the play.' " 

Robinson has matched the hottest stretch he's ever had in terms of receptions. He has 31 catches in this season's five games. He's on track to outpace his personal high of 80 receptions from the 2015 season.

It's not just the catches with Robinson now, it's the type of receptions. He's become more and more acrobatic as he's put the ACL tear of 2017 into the ancient history category.

He's done three sideline tap dances the last two weeks, including one for a touchdown and another for a 32-yard gain.

There are secrets to making such catches.

"Keep my feet as planted as possible when I'm making the catch, let my upper body do the extending," Robinson said after the Bears lost to the Raiders.

Robinson said after the catches he made against Minnesota that the secret has less to do with his feet than something else.

"It's funny, mainly you just focus on the catch, that's the main thing," Robinson said. "Once you get to the sideline we're taught at practice to tap and drag, tap and drag. 

"It's definitely an instinct. My main thing was just catching the football. If you don't catch the football, then feet don't mean anything."

In terms of importance to the Bears offense, Robinson has mean everything. Of his 31 catches, 22 went for first downs. He's sixth in the league in first-down catches.

Robinson has caught 75.4 pecent of the passes when he's targeted (31 of 42), second only to the 87 percent he had in 2015. The 31 catches tied him for 11th in the league going into Monday and is the fastest start to a season in his career by far. It includes three seven-catch efforts.

"You're seeing right now what he can do," coach Matt Nagy told reporters in London. "The whole league is seeing it and we appreciate it.

"I've said it since Day 1, this kid comes to work every single day. He works hard, he's passionate, he's tough, he cares about the game. He wants to do well. He wants to win."