What started so well ended so much differently.
Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw two second-half interceptions, with each returned for touchdowns, and although that was only part of the story, the Chicago Bears used the plays to turn in a dominant final two quarters en route to a 41-3 victory over the Jaguars at EverBank Field Sunday afternoon.
The loss was the third in as many home games for the Jaguars this season, with all three losses coming by 17 points or more.
"It wasn't a good performance," Gabbert said after the Bears outscored the Jaguars 38-0 in the final 21 minutes in front of 67,012 at EverBank.
"It was really a tale of two halves. I could talk up here all night about what we did, but that's not going to cure anything. We've got to come out in the second half and play better football. That starts with me."
Gabbert completed 17 of 33 passes for 142 yards and no touchdowns with the two interceptions, while rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon caught three passes for 40 yards. The Bears focused on running back Maurice Jones-Drew throughout, and limited him aside from a 27-yard run in the second half.
He finished with 56 yards on 12 carries.
The Jaguars, after being outgained 191-144 and being tied 3-3 at halftime, managed three first downs in the second half. Chicago outgained the Jaguars during the half, 310-45.
But it wasn't until five minutes remained in the third quarter that the game truly turned.
The Jaguars held the Bears to a field goal on Chicago's first drive of the second half, a 76-yard, 17-play possession on which the Bears needed 9:18 to scrape out a 31-yard field goal by Robbie Gould.
That made it 6-3, Chicago, but on the first play of the ensuing possession, left tackle Eugene Monroe was called for holding on a short run by running back Maurice Jones-Drew. On 1st-and-20 from the Jaguars 15, Gabbert threw to Blackmon.
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman intercepted and weaved through the Jaguars' offense for a 36-yard touchdown and a 13-3 lead.
The Jaguars never crossed midfield again.
"We have to figure out a way to win," Jones-Drew said. "We have to find a way to win. I don't know what to tell you."
The Bears scored 28 fourth-quarter points, including touchdown passes of 10 and 24 yards from Jay Cutler to Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall, respectively. Bears linebacker Lance Briggs also caught a deflected pass off the hands of Jones-Drew and returned it 36 yards for a touchdown.
"Two Pick Sixes in a half – that's awful," Gabbert said.
A defense that allowed 10 first-half first downs allowed 16 in the second half, and the Bears' final touchdown came on a 46-yard run by reserve running back Armando Allen, a second-year veteran who had 47 career rushing yards entering the game.
The Jaguars with the loss slipped to 1-4, and with the bye week scheduled for next week before a West Coast trip to Oakland, cornerback Rashean Mathis said in a quiet post-game locker room, "We have to reevaluate some things."
"Five games in, and we still haven't pieced a complete game together – all pieces," Mathis said. "It's a long season, but we can't be saying this forever. We understand that."