BY ANDREW SELIGMAN Associated Press

Linebacker showing he’s still at top of his game

Briggs time

LAKE FOREST – Lance Briggs sure doesn’t look like he’s slowing down.

The 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.

The Bears are getting big contributions from the defensive line and areas of the secondary that were major question marks.

They lead the league in interceptions (11) and takeaways (14), and their 15 sacks trail only Arizona and Cincinnati with 16 apiece. Cornerback Tim Jennings already has a career-high four interceptions to lead the NFL, not to mention six pass breakups, two of which led to touchdowns for other players.

Then, there’s Briggs still going strong with 27 tackles and four pass breakups even though he’s in his 10th season and turns 32 next month.

“Best outside linebacker in the NFL. He does it every week,” Urlacher said. “He shows up. He makes big plays. He stresses me out sometimes because he moves around so much before the snap, I don’t know if he’s going to end up in the right spots. But he always does, makes big plays, tackles for losses. He’s always there.”

Up next: Bears at Jacksonville, 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: EverBank Field, Jacksonville

TV/Radio: Fox/780 AM

Line: Bears by 4 1/2

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