JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Charles Tillman and Lance Briggs have been Chicago Bears teammates for a decade, watching each other grow from talented rookies to entrenched starters to savvy veterans.
If they weren't forever linked before, they surely are now.
Tillman and Briggs made NFL history Sunday by becoming the first teammates to return interceptions for touchdowns in consecutive weeks. Tillman's score was pivotal in a 41-3 victory at Jacksonville.
"We're still going strong 10 years later," Tillman said.
The Bears (4-1) scored 38 unanswered points in the second half to win their third consecutive game. The streak has everything to do with defense. Chicago has returned five interceptions for touchdowns in those games.
Tillman and Briggs returned two of the team's five INTs for scores in Monday night's 34-18 victory at Dallas. Major Wright returned one the previous week against St. Louis.
Tillman's second of the season — a 36-yarder in the third quarter Sunday — proved to be the decisive play in a game that saw as many punts (six) as points in the first half.
"This one was an easier catch," Tillman said, recalling his juggling pick of Tony Romo's pass six days earlier. "Last week, it was, 'Is he really throwing me the ball?' This week was normal. This one was easier. It came at a good time. We needed a lift, and that score got us rolling to the point the offense started putting up points after that."
The Bears finished with 501 yards of offense, 309 in the second half, and held Jacksonville to 45 yards after the break. The Jaguars ran just four plays in the third quarter.
"It's been the same thing for five years," Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said. "Obviously, we're not working hard enough. I don't know. We're just not playing well right now. We have to figure something out. No one here is going to save us. We got to look man to man at each other and figure out what we're going to do."
The Jaguars (1-4) never recovered from Tillman's touchdown and played the final quarter amid a chorus of boos. Jacksonville now heads into its bye week with serious questions about what direction the team is headed under general manager Gene Smith, quarterback Blaine Gabbert and maybe even first-year coach Mike Mularkey.
With Smith assembling the roster, the Jaguars have lost 18 of their last 24 games.