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Charles Tillman’s ability to create turnovers sets him apart

Chicago Bears v Tennessee Titans Getty Images

The way the Bears throttled the Titans made it easy to find superlatives, but one performance stood out among the rest.

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman forced four fumbles Sunday, giving him seven for the season, along with his two interceptions returned for touchdowns.

I think we are all seeing history being made,” Bears linebacker Lance Briggs said, via Sean Jensen of the Chicago Sun-Times.

That’s partly because Tillman’s ability to create turnovers is nearly without precedent.

Since 2003, he’s second in the NFL with 36 forced fumbles. Only Colts outside linebacker Robert Mathis has more, and Tillman’s the only player in the top eight who isn’t a pass-rusher.

Tillman passed Dwight Freeney and teammate Julius Peppers on that list Sunday, and Peppers said the way his teammate did it is the most spectacular.

“Most of mine come from the blind side of the quarterback,” Peppers said. “He does it while the guy is looking at him and trying to run him over. He does it in a different way so it makes it a little more impressive.”

Tillman’s generally overlooked in discussions of elite corners in the league, in part because he doesn’t have great speed. Part of it is pedigree as well, as he wasn’t a top-10 pick from a name school (a second-rounder from Louisiana-Lafayette), which causes players to play catch-up to the recognition they deserve. That partly explains the fact he’s been to one Pro Bowl.

“I’m confident in my technique, my team, my talent,” Tillman said. “I think when it’s all said and done, you can put my stats with other corners in the league, and I think it’ll hold true.

“I can be in the same sentence.”

He’s actually in a sentence all his own, as he plays a more well-rounded game than many of the pure cover players, and he’s doing things no other defensive back is doing.

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23 Responses to “Charles Tillman’s ability to create turnovers sets him apart”
  1. chitownbears says: Nov 5, 2012 9:38 AM

    Tillman, Briggs, and Urlacher have been the foundation of the Bears d for the better part of the last decade. It is without coincidence that Briggs and Urlacher are perrenial pro bowlers on a defense that has consistently been among the leagues best. Tillman hasnt had his just due because there always have been “name” cornerbacks in the NFC that annually got the nod. But he’s been doing this for quite some time.

  2. philtration says: Nov 5, 2012 9:43 AM

    By the way…. he actually forced another one yesterday as the player was going out of bounds or he would have had 5.

  3. sprtsfan1 says: Nov 5, 2012 9:49 AM

    Peanut is the man! So happy for him after all these years. Great player and an even better person.

  4. Pacific NW Mark says: Nov 5, 2012 10:17 AM

    Long overdue recognition for an excellent player.

  5. wheresmyjuice says: Nov 5, 2012 10:19 AM

    I’m a Pack fan, but this dude is sick. Very impressive…Truly an aggresively offensive-minded defensive player. Love watching him play.

  6. comeonnowguys says: Nov 5, 2012 10:36 AM

    Woodson, Dawkins, Tillman.

    For the longest time, he was unfairly overlooked because he was a CB in a cover-2 system.

    What’s also overlooked is the fact that even in photos like the one above, in which he looks like he’s out of position, he is actually trying to tackle the guy. And he’s a great tackler.

    Best corner in team history? Hard to argue at this point. He’s passed Woolford, and I’m not sure even that ’85 nostalgia can now put Frazier ahead of Tillman.

  7. ttommytom says: Nov 5, 2012 10:47 AM

    He’s changing coaching techniques. So that IS history.

    Much like when Lawrence Taylor forced opponents to use DT’s on him instead of TE’s or RB’s.

    Hard to teach what both do. It’s about talent first and foremost.

  8. rpiotr01 says: Nov 5, 2012 10:49 AM

    He’s having a year like Charles Woodson in 2009 – DPOY, everywhere around the ball, making plays left and right.

  9. eightandeightlions says: Nov 5, 2012 10:52 AM

    Excellent football player, and even better as a human being. ANY team in the league would jump at the chance to grab him and he would start on any roster in the NFL.

    This points out the problem with the pro-bowl voting process. The fans should have no say whatsoever in this, neither should sportswriters, who are at times even more clueless, and neither understands cornerback play as it applies to a given system.

    In 2011: Deangelo Hall, Brent Grimes, and Antoine Winfield were the picks. Grimes is good, the other two defy explanation.

    In 2010 : ASSante Samuel, Terence Newman, and Mike Jenkins. Asante Samuel blows, and out of Newman and Jenkins only Jenkins is still on the Cowboys roster, and that’s only because they couldn’t get anything in trade. If these 2 corners were really so good, why draft a cornerback in the first round?

    2009: Rhonde Barber, ASSante Samuel, and Al Harris??? 2009 was a bad year for the Bears, but individually I would have taken Tilllman over any of these clowns, Rhonde is the only legitimate corner in the group.

  10. bluestree says: Nov 5, 2012 10:55 AM

    The reason Tillman doesn’t get more credit as a top corner is because the weakest part of his game is coverage. Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers have lit him up on numerous occasions. That being said, his punch is on a par with LT’s tomahawk chop. It’s also true that Urlacher, Peppers and Briggs are equally adept as causing fumbles. Peanut has more oportunities to get a clean shot at the ball, but the whole Bears defense great at forcing fumbles.
    Take a look at how careless the Titans were with putting the ball away. After all the fumbles they’d lost, they were still not securing the football. Hats off to Tillman, but it helps that Tennessee quit.

  11. whitecastleisafoodgroup says: Nov 5, 2012 11:06 AM

    I would echo what Peppers said. Players can see him coming, know his rep as the best at forcing fumbles (at least at his position), yet he still knocks the ball out. Amazing.

    “The Amazing Peanut Man”?

    Nah, that nickname sucks :)

    Go Bears!

  12. bleedgreen80 says: Nov 5, 2012 11:12 AM

    Dawkins was a safety bro

  13. themackstrong says: Nov 5, 2012 11:27 AM

    4 Forced Fumbles in a game for 1 player? That is taking control of a game from the defensive side, wow. The games I watched this year he was a scoring machine. You’re right about the pro bowl voting, John Kuhn give me a break. Many real talented players miss this recognition because of this.

  14. godofwine330 says: Nov 5, 2012 11:40 AM

    Recognition for this man is long overdue. Looking at PFR, he hasn’t had less than 65 tackles since 2004, his second year when he played in 8 games. He has had 28 INTs since then, including 7 TDs and 31 forced fumbles. This guy is a corner back version of London Fletcher, another player who went to a small school that constantly gets overlooked by the media and the Pro Bowl voters.

    People talk bad about Tampa-2 Corners like what they do isn’t good enough to be recognized, but he and Ronde Barber, another Tampa-2 style corner (now a safety) can match up favorably with any corner to ever play the game.

  15. larryboodry says: Nov 5, 2012 12:31 PM

    Great to see Tillman finally getting some recognition, he has been a class act on and off the field for the past decade, and always humble in interviews, which may be another factor in his lack of notoriety.

  16. tgriffin2012 says: Nov 5, 2012 12:58 PM

    It is ridiculous to say Tillman is not getting his due becaquse of his coverage skills….just plain stupid!!!!! The man can lock down any WR on any given Sunday ( ask Megatron ) but like any CB you’re going to get burned sometime, he’s no exception.

    He is by far the best CB in the league right now! He can cover and play the run with the best of them,period!!!!! Sunday night will be the highest TV rated game of the season and I think it will be a lonnnnggggggg nite for those Teaxns, Bear Down Bears!!!!!!!!!!

  17. clanmckelvey says: Nov 5, 2012 1:09 PM

    He also had pick taken out of his handsby the safety.

  18. sportsfan83 says: Nov 5, 2012 5:32 PM

    I could care less about pro bowl votes since its basically a popularity contest,what matters to me is I believe Tillman will be a lock to get in the HOF. Peanut is and should be considered one of the best CB’s to ever play GO BEARS!!

  19. chi01town says: Nov 5, 2012 6:46 PM

    The Chicago Bears are the best football team in the NFL right now.
    and No one in the media has the guts to say it. WHY? because they have spent so much time talking against CULTER. and all because he had the
    guts to force his way out of Denver.

  20. bhawksrule says: Nov 5, 2012 7:28 PM

    Pro bowl talks are worthless because da Bears are going to the Superbowl.

  21. beefbus says: Nov 5, 2012 7:37 PM

    The dude is flat-out ballin’ right now. My friend and I couldn’t believe our eyes yesterday. Everytime he wrapped up a Titan the punch came up golden. He pretty much assured himself another NFC defensive player of the week award.

  22. filthymcnasty1 says: Nov 5, 2012 9:33 PM

    I think Tillman is doing a great job of making up for the sub standard play of their QB.

  23. larryboodry says: Nov 6, 2012 1:21 PM

    filthymcnasty1 says: Nov 5, 2012 9:33 PM

    “I think Tillman is doing a great job of making up for the sub standard play of their QB.”

    And most Packer fans do a great job making up for the lack of both class and football-savvy displayed by one filthymcnasty.

    As for Cutler, he is 12-1 in his last 13 starts, and will avenge that one loss Dec. 16th.

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