JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Bears defensive end Corey Wootton spoke like a pilot Sunday after a monster game that included two sacks, a forced fumble and a tackle for a loss.
“I had a good take off all day,” Wootton said.
Production continues to climb for the Bears’ third-year player.
Wootton dumped Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert twice in a 41-3 win at EverBank Field. He has 3˝ sacks in five games after registering only one sack in his first two seasons as a 2010 fourth-round draft pick out of Northwestern.
Late in the second quarter, Wootton sprinted around the left edge of the defensive line, sacked Gabbert and forced a fumble at the Bears’ 21-yard line. Teammate Julius Peppers recovered the ball to maintain a 3-3 tie at halftime before a runaway second half.
“It was one of my better games, but I don’t want to be content with this,” Wootton said. “I still have a lot of room to improve and get better on.”
Lance Briggs also sacked Gabbert to give the Bears’ defense 18 sacks this season.
“It’s a great time right now because it’s not one person,” Peppers said. “It’s been different guys every week, and that’s just how we play the game.”
Humbling: Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall credited Jaguars cornerback Derek Cox for forcing him to make adjustments at halftime.
“I played against him in the preseason last year,” Marshall said. “He really got better. He honestly beat me in the first half. He won that half and really humbled me. I was on the sidelines talking to myself saying, ‘Man, these guys get paid, too.’ ”
By the end of the game, Marshall showed why he gets paid so much. He finished with 12 receptions for 144 yards and a touchdown, which made him the first Bears receiver to post back-to-back 100-yard games since Marcus Robinson in 1999.
“It’s pretty typical,” Bears quarterback Jay Cutler said. “When he gets matched up one-on-one, he’s going to make some plays. Whenever we get up like that and they start loading the box, he’s going to get some opportunities.”
Street clothes: Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett missed his second consecutive game because of a hand injury despite predicting last week that he would be able to play.
Bennett, 25, was replaced once again by teammate Dane Sanzenbacher on the active roster. He has missed seven of the past 19 games because of injuries.
Other inactive players who joined Bennett on the sidelines included offensive tackle Chris Williams, running back Kahlil Bell and injured fullback Evan Rodriguez.
Bears bits: Rookie wide receiver Alshon Jeffery injured his hand in the second half, but the Bears provided no indication about whether the injury was serious. … Bears coach Lovie Smith praised fans who traveled to Jacksonville. “The hotel was unbelievable,” Smith said.