When you see a score like 41-3 at the end of a game, it’s hard to convince yourself that there was ever a moment when it seemed possible that the losing team would win the game.
That was not the case in Sunday’s Bears-Jaguars game. It was 3-3 after one of the least inspiring halves of football you could ever wish upon your worst enemy and it wasn’t hard to see this mess continuing long enough for the Jaguars to get enough bounces in their direction to win the football game. At least, you could see that happening until the second half got underway.
The Bears found a little offensive footing with a 17-play drive for a field goal to kick off the half and then seized control when Charles Tillman picked off Blaine Gabbert for a 36-yard touchdown return that signaled the end of the competitive portion of the football game. The Bears started clicking on offense, with Cutler hitting Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall for touchdowns, and Lance Briggs taking another Gabbert touchdown to the house. Tillman’s touchdown was the eighth of his career, a new Bears record for a defensive player, and Briggs now has touchdowns in two straight games for Chicago.
That led to a lot of cheering for the Bears in the untarped seats at EverBank Field. It really felt as if the field tilted in the Bears’ direction when the second half got underway and things just rolled downhill from there.
Cutler finished with 292 passing yards, Marshall had 12 grabs for 144 yards and Matt Forte added 107 yards on the ground to make for a much more well-rounded offensive performance, 501 yards when all was said and done, than it looked like the Bears had in them during the first half. The Jaguars defense, meanwhile, looked like it ran out of gas on that first drive and never recovered their mojo as the offense kept putting them back on the field.
The Bears go into their bye on a three-game winning streak and in a tie for first place with the Vikings in an NFC North that looks like it should provide an entertaining race for the top spot. As for the Jaguars, they will use their bye to try to fix an offense that gained just 188 yards in another brutal performance.