If Jaguars safety Barry Church keeps a checklist for career accomplishments, it's added a few tallies over the last few weeks.
Church notched his first career regular-season sack against the New York Jets last week. On Sunday, he scored his first-ever NFL touchdown off an intercepted pass from Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.
"Being back at the house like that, being able to take a pick six on such a great quarterback and such a great team, especially being back in the home state, it was a great experience," Church said. "Hopefully, I can get some more going in the rest of the season."
The eight-year veteran was able to score his first career touchdown in his hometown of Pittsburgh. The local kid was able to stand out in front of family and friends in the stadium he grew up visiting as a young fan.
It's safe to say the touchdown is his new favorite Heinz Field memory.
"Everybody grew up a Steelers fan and I never got to play there in high school because we never made it to the championship," Church said. "We kind of lost the game ahead of that, but that was a heck of a time being back at the house."
Church has been a key addition to the Jaguars' defense. He signed a four-year, $ 26 million deal in March. So far, he's been well worth the cash.
He has provided production on his end and also helped others make plays. Free safety Tashaun Gipson already has three interceptions on the season, two more than his total throughout all of last year.
The pair of safeties have forged a bond and their chemistry has led to big plays for the Jaguars.
Church has become a leader in the secondary. He leads by example and with his words, offering up production and a vocal presence. The 29-year-old safety seems to think the best is yet come for this Jaguars defense.
After watching the first five games of Church's Jaguars tenure, it's hard to argue against his optimism.
"I felt like during the summer time and camp and OTAs and all that, we were building the foundation to be a solid defense," Church said. "All of that work we've put in so far has started to pay off. We know we need to be more consistent as a defense and that'll come with time. Hopefully this win will start that momentum in the right way."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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