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Five key plays: Bears 41, Jaguars 17

Jacksonville Jaguars against the Chicago Bears during an NFL football game, Sun, Dec. 27, 2020 in Jacksonville, Fla.

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines five key plays that shaped the Jaguars' 41-17 loss to the Chicago Bears at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday

1.Early A-Rob first downs. The early momentum – and the outcome – was still undecided when the Bears took possession for the first time after an opening-drive field goal by kicker Aldrick Rosas gave the Jaguars a 3-0 lead. Then, former Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson did what he did much of the game; he came up big against his old team. First, Robinson caught a three-yard pass near the sideline on 3rd-and-3 from the Bears 32 for a first down. He then turned a short pass on 2nd-and-12 from the Bears 33 into a first down at the Jaguars 46 with a 21-yard catch-and-run reception. The Bears capped the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Mitch Trubisky to tight end Jimmy Graham for a 7-0 Bears lead with 3:18 remaining in the first quarter. "We didn't do that as much on the front end of the season," Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy said of the first-drive success. "Now we're doing it more. It feels right, it feels good and the players have to execute it."

2.Interference – and a missed opportunity. One series after Graham's touchdown, the Bears drove quickly to extend their lead – but instead of going ahead by double digits settled for a short field goal and a one-score lead. Bears kicker Cairo Santos gave the Bears a 10-3 lead with a 20-yard field goal with 13:17 remaining in the second quarter three plays after an interference penalty on Jaguars cornerback Tre Herndon covering Bears wide receiver Darnell Mooney in the end zone gave the Bears a first down at the Jaguars 1. Robinson bobbled a pass from Trubisky on third-and-goal, forcing the Bears to settle for a field goal. That kept the Jaguars in the game – temporarily, at least.

3.Touchdown, Chark. The Jaguars were scrappy throughout the first half Sunday, and that scrappiness enabled them to tie the game midway through the second quarter. They took advantage of the opportunity Robinson's bobble gave them, driving 70 yards on 10 plays and tying the game – 10-10 – when wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. reached high and caught a lobbing pass from quarterback Mike Glennon in the front corner of the end zone for a 20-yard touchdown with 8:21 remaining in the second quarter. Glennon keyed the drive with passes of 14 yards to wide receiver Chris Conley and 10 yards to wide receiver Keelan Cole.

4.Interception – and interception. The Jaguars' fight Sunday was evident late in the first half when middle linebacker Joe Schobert intercepted an ill-advised pass from Trubisky in the end zone after a long scramble. The play came on 1st-and-10 from the Jaguars 13, keeping the game tied at 10-10 and giving the Jaguars a first down at their 20 with :24 remaining in the half. Glennon completed a quick six-yard pass to wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. but threw over the middle on the ensuing play and was intercepted by Bears linebacker Roquan Smith for a Chicago first down at the Jaguars 32. This was the first of two interceptions for Smith. "I mean, those were huge when you think about it," Bears and former Jaguars safety Tahaun Gipson said. "I think that those were something that you look at and you say, 'Those were momentum changes.''' Santos' 40-yard field goal on the last play of the half gave the Bears a 13-10 lead – and the Jaguars never led or tied the game again.

5.Another A-Rob conversion. There were many key plays in Sunday's third quarter – and the Bears made most of them to turn a three-point halftime lead into 34-10 entering the fourth quarter. "That was obviously the turning point in the game," Bears Head Coach Matt Nagy said of the quarter. One of the key plays was an interception by Smith – his second of the game. But just as critical was yet another big reception from Robinson, who finished the game with 10 receptions for 103 yards. Perhaps Robinson's biggest play Sunday came on the Bears' first drive of the second half. On 4th-and-5 from the Jaguars 36, Trubisky passed to Robinson. He picked up the first down with an eight-yard reception. Trubisky capped the drive with a six-yard run that put the Bears ahead 20-10 and the Jaguars never seriously threatened again. "We just wanted to stick to our game, execute on third downs down the field, get the run game going a little bit," Robinson said. "We were happy to do those things in the third quarter."

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