It wasn’t the prettiest win (which win has been pretty?), but the Monsters of the Midway were able to add another tally to the win column by defeating the two-win Giants 19-14 at Soldier Field on Sunday.
While Mitchell Trubisky and the offense still had some hiccups – interceptions, dropped passes, and just 65 total rushing yards – but the team’s 335 yards of offense marked their best output since Week 7 against the Chargers.
Aside from the drops, the Bears’ receiving corps turned in perhaps their best all-around effort of the year against the NFL’s 26th-ranked pass defense. Unsurprisingly, Allen Robinson led the way for this group, snagging six receptions for 131 yards and a score. This could’ve been a truly mammoth line for Robinson if not for an illegal-use-of-hands penalty that wiped off a 60-yard catch-and-run early in the second quarter.
Robinson’s play has been the team’s bread-and-butter all season long, but he wasn’t the only pass-catcher who had a productive day versus the G-Men’s dreadful secondary.
Behind Robinson came sophomore wideout Anthony Miller, someone who’s struggled to find his footing in 2019.
Miller made a nice impact in this one with six catches for a season-high 77 yards, operating at Trubisky’s security blanket underneath the coverage.
A player who seemed poised to make a big second-year leap after being surrounded by plenty of offseason buzz, Miller has struggled to find a consistent role in Matt Nagy’s offensive attack after scoring seven touchdowns as a rookie.
He’s yet to reach pay-dirt in 2019, dropping three passes up to this point.
The good news – he’s come on strong as of late, catching six passes in each of Chicago’s past two games. His disappointing numbers thus far haven’t been entirely his fault, as the entire offense has underwhelmed on a regular basis throughout the season. As the whole unit progresses, fans should continue to see growth from the Memphis product.
Miller’s got the talent to be a stronghold on this Bears’ offense for years to come.
There’s a reason GM Ryan Pace moved up in the 2018 NFL Draft to grab him, as the 5-foot-11 burner set school records with 95 receptions, 1,434 yards, and 14 touchdowns in his final season with the Tigers. Still only 25 years old, he’s yet to begin even scratching the surface of his potential.
Games like Sunday will only help build Miller’s confidence. Time will tell if he and Trubisky can continue building their rapport with one another, but if his output against New York is any indication, the arrow is pointing upward.
After the game, Miller acknowledged in an interview with Chicago Sun-Times that he and Robinson were beginning to feel “untouchable” as they brought their games to heights unseen thus far in 2019.
“[Coach Matt Nagy] has certain guys that he wants to do certain stuff,” Miller said. “And I just showed up and did my job. Me and Mitch clicked today.”
Nagy was also quick to admire the job his guys did, seeing the types of positive things he’s been preaching on all year.
You felt our passing game. Even with a guy like Taylor Gabriel, who doesn’t have all the numbers, but they know where he’s at with his speed. Every game might be a little bit different, and Anthony has done a good job of making sure he understands the route details, just like the Rams with that deeper pass on the comeback pick. And so the more of that we can get, the more it’s going to open up other guys, too.” – Matt Nagy
Now sitting at 5-6 on the season, calling the Bears’ playoff hopes a longshot even seems far-fetched. Not to mention, the team has a brutal rest-of-season schedule that awaits them.
They’ll have no choice but to take it game-by-game from here, and at the very least, should hope to see continued progress from Trubisky and his pass-catchers. It’s a short turnaround for the Navy and Orange this week, as they’ll have just a few days of preparation leading up to a Thanksgiving Day showdown in Detroit.
Miller and co. will have an excellent shot and continuing to build momentum, as the Lions come into this game at 3-7-1, surrendering the third-most passing yards in the league.
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