- Jeff Dickerson, Chicago Bears beat reporter
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The best way to describe the Chicago Bears' effort on defense this season is record-breaking.
For the third straight week, the Bears' defense rescued its sluggish offense. Cornerback Charles Tillman and linebacker Lance Briggs became the first teammates in NFL history to each return interceptions for touchdowns in consecutive games.
Tillman's pick six off of an errant pass thrown by Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert at the 5:04 mark of the third quarter increased the Bears' lead to 13-3. It also permanently swung the momentum in favor of the Bears.
"I felt like I had good coverage on No. 14 (Justin Blackmon) and once the ball is in the air it's free, right?," Tillman said. "I'm greedy. Greed is good in our profession, so I just try to go get it. Like I said, the defense did a great job blocking. All those 10 guys got me in that end zone. The star of our defense is our defense because they are the ones that got me in the end zone because they set up their blocks. So I credit that to them."
Tillman now holds the Bears franchise record with eight defensive scores (seven interception returns, one fumble return) and is tied Donnell Woolford for the most interceptions by a cornerback in Bears history with 32. The veteran defender has also forced 30 career fumbles, tied for fifth-most in the NFL since 2003 and the most by an NFL defensive back during that time. Tillman is one of two NFL players since 1991 (Brian Dawkins) to have recorded 30 interceptions and 30 forced fumbles.
Although he says the accomplishments don't mean much now, Tillman believes the milestones will have more significance to him later in life.
"They mean nothing right now," Tillman said. "I think when I retire and it's all said and done I can look back and say, 'Wow, those are some pretty cool stats,' " Tillman said. "Right now, I'm having fun. Just trying to have fun and take it one game at a time."
"The guy just does everything you want a cornerback to do," Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "He's got great size, plays hard, got good hands, he'll tackle, and he has an uncanny knack for taking the football away. We like having him on our football team."
The high-scoring Bears' defense is also now a record-breaking one.