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.