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Bears LB Briggs not slowing down

Associated Press Modified: October 4, 2012 at 5:17 pm •  Published: October 4, 2012

LAKE FOREST, Ill. (AP) — Lance Briggs sure doesn't look like he's slowing down.

The Bears' Pro Bowl linebacker still has plenty of spring in his step, and that was clear during Monday's game at Dallas.

Briggs hit the pedal when he picked off Tony Romo, returning an interception 74 yards for a touchdown, and Chicago's defense again went full throttle in a 34-18 victory.

For all the questions surrounding an aging core, that unit has for the most part kept its foot on the gas so far. They'll try to keep it there against an offense that ranks at the bottom when they visit Jacksonville (1-3) this week.

"We're going to play how we play because we're the star football players that we are," Briggs said. "I love to play the game at a high level, and I want to play this game at a high level as long as we can play it."

The Bears' defense was certainly in gear against the Cowboys, picking off Tony Romo five times in a dominant performance. Two of those interceptions were returned for touchdowns, with Charles Tillman taking one 25 yards in the second quarter and Briggs running his back in the third to make it 24-7.

It happened after defensive tackle Henry Melton hit Romo as he apparently tried to deliver a shovel pass. The ball popped out to Briggs, and he burst through a crowd, outrunning everybody on the way to the end zone.

It was a play that possibly could have been ruled a fumble. Briggs, however, insisted it wasn't. Either way, it was his fifth touchdown and first interception for a score since 2005, and the Bears (3-1) were still talking about that play on Thursday.

"Man, he took off," defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli said. "Great play. Great ball skills, and we had so many guys turn and try to block, which is important."

He called Briggs "an extremely gifted athlete" and "truly one of the great 'backers."

It's hard to argue, considering he became just the fourth Bears linebacker to make seven straight Pro Bowls last season, joining Hall of Famers Dick Butkus, Bill George and Mike Singletary. He led the Bears with 147 tackles and got a renegotiated contract that runs through 2014.

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