The Bears can relax with a clear conscious during their bye week after scoring 38 points in the second half Sunday in route to a 41-3 blowout of the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The team can now rest until they play the Detroit Lions in a Monday Night Football game at Soldier Field on October 22, which some of the players feel is too long to wait, possibly losing momentum with too much time off.
“The bye is not coming at the best time,” defensive end Julius Peppers said. “It is, but it isn’t. We want to continue riding this wave, but it is a good opportunity for us to rest up and get guys healthy.”
The game started off like most of the Bears games this season. The two teams went into the locker rooms at halftime after trading field goals to a 3-3 tie, but the Bears broke the game open in the second half.
The defense looked masterful once again, scoring two touchdowns off interceptions from the Jaguars’ first round pick last season, Blaine Gabbert. The two interceptions were returned for touchdowns by Lance Briggs and Charles Tillman, which marked the first time in NFL history that teammates have accomplished this feat two weeks in a row, with the first being against the Dallas Cowboys.
Jay Cutler was 23 of 39 for 292 yards, two touchdowns and one interception, giving an impressive performance to build on his season statistics after Fox-TV pre-game co-host and Hall of Fame quarterback offered criticism of Cutler because of his attitude toward offensive coordinator Mike Tice last week.
“The first half, we had some opportunities, just didn’t make the plays,” Cutler said. “They didn’t do anything we didn’t really expect. They were right in places we thought they were gonna be. We just weren’t making the plays we needed to make. In the second half, we made those plays.”
Culter credited the defense, which only allowed a field goal and 189 total net yards, with always putting the team in the best positions to win games.
“The first half, there was no panic on our side,” Cutler said. “When we have a great defense helping us out, it’s just a matter of going out and executing the plays, then making the plays we need to make. We put up a lot of points today and our offensive line played great for me all day. The defense put up some points again. We’re never really out of it with those guys.”
Cutler’s favorite target, wide receiver Brandon Marshall, also had a great game, catching 12 passes for 144 yards.
“That’s why we brought him here, to be that guy, that No. 1 wide receiver,” Cutler said. “When he gets a one-on-one (match up) we expect him to win 100 percent of the time, hands down. He comes to the sidelines and says, ‘I didn’t win,’ I say, ‘Why not?’ He’s that guy and he’s living up to it.”
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Photo caption: Chicago Bears outside linebacker Lance Briggs (55) celebrates after cornerback Charles Tillman intercepted a pass from Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert and returned it for a touchdown during the second half of an NFL football game in Jacksonville, Fla., Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012. The Bears won 41-3.(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)