Bears make NFL history, overwhelm Jaguars 41-3
Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs have been Chicago Bears
teammates for a decade, watching each other grow from talented
rookies to entrenched starters to savvy veterans.
If they weren’t forever linked before, they surely are now.
Tillman and Briggs made NFL history Sunday by becoming the first
teammates to return interceptions for touchdowns in consecutive
weeks. Tillman’s score was pivotal in a 41-3 victory at
”We’re still going strong 10 years later,” Tillman said.
The Bears (4-1) scored 38 unanswered points in the second half
to win their third consecutive game. The streak has everything to
do with defense. Chicago has returned five interceptions for
touchdowns in those games.
Tillman and Briggs returned two of the team’s five INTs for
scores in Monday night’s 34-18 victory at Dallas. Major Wright
returned one the previous week against St. Louis.
Tillman’s second of the season – a 36-yarder in the third
quarter Sunday – proved to be the decisive play in a game that saw
as many punts (six) as points in the first half.
”This one was an easier catch,” Tillman said, recalling his
juggling pick of Tony Romo’s pass six days earlier. ”Last week, it
was, `Is he really throwing me the ball?’ This week was normal.
This one was easier. It came at a good time. We needed a lift, and
that score got us rolling to the point the offense started putting
up points after that.”
The Bears finished with 501 yards of offense, 309 in the second
half, and held Jacksonville to 45 yards after the break. The
Jaguars ran just four plays in the third quarter.
”It’s been the same thing for five years,” Jaguars running
back Maurice Jones-Drew said. ”Obviously, we’re not working hard
enough. I don’t know. We’re just not playing well right now. We
have to figure something out. No one here is going to save us. We
got to look man to man at each other and figure out what we’re
going to do.”
The Jaguars (1-4) never recovered from Tillman’s touchdown and
played the final quarter amid a chorus of boos. Jacksonville now
heads into its bye week with serious questions about what direction
the team is headed under general manager Gene Smith, quarterback
Blaine Gabbert and maybe even first-year coach Mike Mularkey.
With Smith assembling the roster, the Jaguars have lost 18 of
their last 24 games.
They have been downright pathetic in three home games this
season. They managed 117 yards in the home opener against Houston,
212 last week against Cincinnati and 189 Sunday.
”I can talk up here all night about what we did, but that’s not
going to cure anything,” Gabbert said. ”We’ve got to come out in
the second half and play better football. It starts with me. When
you throw two Pick 6’s in a half, that’s awful. I’ve got to find a
way to fix that and get this offense going a little bit.”
Gabbert completed 17 of 33 passes for 142 yards, with two
interceptions and a lost fumble. The Bears stacked the line of
scrimmage, clearly wanting to shut down Jones-Drew. It worked, as
Jones-Drew finished with 56 yards on 12 carries.
Following Tillman’s score, the Jaguars allowed consecutive
touchdown drives after playing stout defense in the first half.
Jay Cutler hooked up with rookie Alshon Jeffery for a 10-yard
score on the first play of the fourth quarter and then found
Brandon Marshall for a 24-yarder with 8:37 remaining in the
Briggs’ score came after that, a 36-yard return that made it
”The defense put up some points again,” said Cutler, who
completed 23 of 39 passes for 292 yards. ”We’re never really out
of a game with those guys on defense.”
Marshall caught 12 passes for 144 yards. Matt Forte, who has one
touchdown this season, ran 22 times for 107 yards.
Few outsiders gave the Jaguars a chance before the game. The
only thing that seemingly was in Jacksonville’s favor was catching
Chicago on a short week. The Bears got home from Dallas early
Tuesday and were back on a plane Saturday.
That may have contributed to Chicago’s slow start. But it
mattered little in the second half – thanks mostly to the
”I know they know how important it is to take the ball away,”
Bears coach Lovie Smith said. ”There is an emphasis on it. And
after a while, you see one guy doing it, you want to join in on
that action. It’s discouraging to the offense. We normally win when
we score one time, and it’s probably safe to say we haven’t lost
when we score a couple times on the defensive side.”
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