In a game that started close, the Jacksonville Jaguars found themselves getting handed a lopsided loss by the Chicago Bears. It all went downhill after a nice first half by the Jags that kept them competitive.
At the start of the game things were starting to go right for the Jags. Derek Cox had an interception, they were tied at three to start the second quarter, and the team was driving well into Bears territory when the future loomed through in the form of Corey Wootten. With two minutes left in the first half Wootten got his hand on Gabbert’s arm as he went to throw and the ball bounced directly into Julius Peppers’ waiting hands. While the Bears didn’t score on the final drive of the half, the Jags missed out on what seemed to be their last scoring opportunity.
The second half quickly turned into a mess. A Blaine Gabbert interception was walked in by Charles Tillman, the offense started to stall, and the Bears seemed unable to do any wrong. For the first time this season, Gabbert wasn’t able to get a pass to the endzone. Instead, the Bears’ defensive backs took two picks (Gabbert’s most in a game this season) to the house. Gabbert 10/18 at the half and went on to only complete seven more passes to finish 17/33 for 142 yards (most in the first half) with two interceptions.
The Bears played the game they wanted to all day. The defense stuffed Maurice Jones-Drew, limited the Jags receivers – though they played better than anticipated – and forced the Jags to try and pass to win. It was the right move, as the Jags couldn’t seem to move the ball as well as they had in the first half. Gabbert had some poorly thrown balls, there seemed to be miscommunication between him and the receivers, and there simply wasn’t any running room for MJD (12 attempts for 56 yards, 20 of which came on one run).
The Bears defense made it possible for Jay Cutler to relax, and he boosted his passing percentage from 50% in the first half to finish 23/29 for 292 yards, two touchdowns, and his one pick in the first half. Matt Forte could do no wrong in the game and rushed for over 100 yards. Brandon Marshall had over 100 yards receiving and rookie Alshon Jeffery was good enough to demand some attention from the Jags D.
Scoring 28 points in the fourth quarter is a sure way to get a win against a team that hasn’t scored over 23 points in seven games dating back to last season. At the end of it all, the Bears come away with a nice win to keep pace with the Vikings at 4-1 atop the NFC North and the Jags continue to sink with the Titans to 1-4 at the bottom of the AFC South. Both teams head into their respective bye weeks with time to reflect on how the first five weeks of the season have gone.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims