Heading in to halftime tied 3-3 it seemed as though the Bears had set themselves up for a trap game. By the final whistle, it had become a laugher. The Bears routed the Jaguars 41-3 and scored 38 points in the second half. It was the defense that started the scoring frenzy thanks to interceptions by Charles Tillman (above) and Lance Briggs which were both returned for touchdowns that put the game out of reach.
Once the defense scored it seemed like the light bulb went off for the offense and Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall were unstoppable. Cutler went 23/39 for 292 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Twelve of Cutler's completions were hauled in by Brandon Marshall who scorched the Jacksonville defense for 144 yards and a touchdown. It was the first time a Bears' receiver had over ten receptions in a game since Marty Booker in 2002. Matt Forte looked solid with 107 yards rushing on 22 carries.
The Bears looked stagnant on both sides of the ball heading into halftime but it was a frustrated Lovie Smith's halftime speech that lit the fire under the team and got them going on both sides of the ball. "He basically cursed us out without cursing," Charles Tillman said, "He raised his voice and gave us that mean, surly, stern look and we responded to that. He put a little spark in our rear end."
Once the Bears started scoring it was scary to see just how dominant they could be on both sides of the ball if everything is clicking. The offense racked up 501 total yards, 309 in the second half alone, while the defense had Blaine Gabbert running for his life with three sacks, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. The Bears also kept Jacksonville's best weapon, Maurice Jones-Drew in check with just 56 rushing yards on 12 carries. The defense only allowed 189 total yards and now ranks #2 in run defense, #13 in passing defense and #6 overall in total defense in the entire league. For a defensive unit that was supposed to show their age and have the offense carry the team it has been the same old Bears' defense we have been used to seeing under the Love Smith regime.
The win is the Bears' third straight victory and moves them to 4-1 and a tie with Minnesota for the lead in the NFC North. Thanks to a last minute loss to Indianapolis the Bears now have a full two game lead on the team many predicted to be the favorites to win the division. The Bears head into their bye week on back to back to back impressive performances and are one of the hottest teams in the NFL. The week off will give players a time to rest up and nurse nagging injuries before a Monday night division showdown with the Detroit Lions who have gotten off to a rocky 1-3 start.
QUICK BEARS NOTES
Charles Tillman became the franchise's all time leader in defensive touchdowns with eight.
Alshon Jeffery left the game with a heavily wrapped hand injury and will be evaluated Monday.
The Bears have five interceptions returned for touchdowns in the last three games.
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