This is one of those days when I wish I had written up a First Half Observations post where I could have singled out the poor performances that dominated the 3-3 first half of the Bears game versus the Jaguars down in a hot, steamy Jacksonville. Instead I’ll break this post into a tale of two halves.
- The Jaguars looked in their first drive, a three and out, like they might not be able to convert a third down even if there were no one else on the field besides them. That would change.
- Nice of Jay Cutler to get that pesky requisite interception out of the way on his first pass of the day.
- Bears showed good balance on their first scoring drive with Forte and Bush getting a fair share of the carries and yardage. The problem, that drive should have been capped off by a touchdown, not a Robbie Gould FG.
- Remember when I wrote that it looked like the Jags might not be able to convert a first down even if there were no one else on the field? On the Jaguars’ next drive, they converted third downs of 12, 14 and 8 yards during a 14 play drive that ended in a field goal of their very own.
- On that drive, Tim Jennings looked nothing like September’s NFC Defensive Player of the Month. In one instance, rookie Justin Blackmon pushed him down like a ragdoll.
- Just when it looked like the Jaguars were about to take the lead on the Bears, Corey Wooton stepped up with a big sack and forced fumble, which Julius Peppers recovered just inside the 2-minute warning.
- The offense needed to score in that final 2-minute drill. They got away with it on Sunday, but against better teams, they can’t miss those opportunities.
- I would be remiss not to mention that Devin Hester had a sweet catch in traffic to convert a 3rd and 5 on that final Bears drive of the half. More on Devin in the second half.
The Bears head to the locker room tied with the Jaguars at 3 apiece. Lovie Smith must have cursed during his halftime speech because I can’t hardly remember a Bears team come out with such a big change following halftime. If there were any adjustments at halftime, I’d say they were mostly attitude adjustments as the Bears seemed flat and disinterested in the first half. Let’s get to the second half notes.
- The Bears started the second half getting the ball and went on to a 17 play scoring drive that took over 9 minutes off the clock. Those are 9 minutes that the defense got to rest on the sidelines on a steamy afternoon.
- That Bears scoring drive was nearly killed off twice by consecutive Gabe Carimi false starts. Was there some Jewish holiday going on Sunday because he looked like he was taking the day off?
- On the defense’s second play of the second half, Charles Tillman picked off Blaine Gabbert’s pass and….. you guessed it, he returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.
- After another Jacksonville three and out, the Bears got another scoring drive going that stretched into the 4th quarter. That ended the 3rd quarter with Jacksonville running 4 plays for -1 yards and a Bears touchdown.
- Not sure what Alshon Jeffery did to his hand or wrist, but whatever it was (and we’re hoping it’s not a break) he did it before he hauled in a Jay Cuter TD pass. Nice job rook.
- If you missed Devin Hester’s 39 yard catch, you’ve got to go back and watch it here. Maybe this kid is rounding into a real wide receiver after all?
- Brandon Marshall almost single handedly killed my fantasy team with a 12 catch, 144 yard game including a touchdown reception. I wouldn’t mind so much if the Bears actually needed it.
- Lance Briggs with his second pick-6 in as many weeks. This one was only 36 yards, so I’m sure he was most happy he didn’t have to haul it back as far as he did vs Dallas. Briggs also added a sack on the day.
- Armando Allen (fourth string running back for the uninformed) capped off a nice weekend for Notre Dame fans with a 46 yard touchdown run as Jason Campbell was handling mop up duty and Jay Cutler was first-bumping OC Mike Tice.
- Almost forgot to mention the sweet Michael Bush hurdle to convert a first down. Here’s a still shot of a truck going airborne:
A few postgame notes:
- The Bears have had defensive touchdowns in three straight games, the first time that’s happened since 1940.
- Brandon Marshall’s consecutive 100 yard games are a first for Bears WR since 1999.
- The Bears have now notched consecutive road wins first time since 2006. You know what happened that season? Super Bowl, my friend.
- Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman made NFL history by becoming the first pair of teammates to bring back interception returns in consecutive games.
- Charles Tillman passed Mike Brown as the most defensive scores in franchise history with 8 return TD’s.
- The Bears had a 100 yard rusher and a 100 yard receiver for the first time since 2006 when Thomas Jones and Muhsin Muhamad did it.
The Bears head to a well-deserved BYE with a 4-1 record, tied atop the NFC North with the surprising Minnesota Vikings.
Nice work waking up in the second half Bears.