The league is taking notice of the Chicago Bears defense. On Thursday, Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman was named NFC defensive player of the month, the second time a Bears player has been given the award in as many months. It was Tim Jennings who received the accolades last month.
Tillman’s biggest night came on Monday Night Football against the Detroit Lions, a game in which Tillman was at his best covering Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Tillman had come into that week scoring a touchdown in each of the previous two games, so the league was already on alert. Johnson was targeted 11 times that night, and yet he was only able to come up with three catches for just 34 yards.
Tillman is having a great year along with Jennings. Tillman currently has 34 tackles on the year, including 28 solo and two interceptions. Both interceptions were returned for touchdowns. Known as probably the best ball stripper in the game, Tillman has also forced three fumbles and has knocked out a number of passes out of receivers hands this season.
Tillman is a value for the Bears this season given his play, considering he is making just $3.5 million this season, although he does have another $3.5 million he can make in incentives. The Bears 2003 second round pick is in his tenth season and currently sits behind Gary Fencik (38) and Richie Petitbon (37) for the franchise lead in interceptions. Tillman has 32.
Tillman has been a solid cornerback for the Bears his entire career, but the league took a while to recognize it, as Tillman made his first Pro Bowl last season. Tillman and Jennings are both a big reason why the Bears defense currently ranks second in least points allowed per game.
Tillman has 32 forced fumbles and 32 interceptions in his career, becoming the first player since Brian Dawkins to have 30 in both categories. The Bears defense this year is second in the league in takeaways with 24 and first in interceptions with 16.
With the way the Bears defense is playing, it is hard to think there is a better defense in the league right now. One may have even been able to make an argument that Bears linebacker Lance Briggs could have won the award as well, which speaks to the level of this defense. If they continue playing like this, it is hard to see the Bears losing much. For now, Tillman deservingly is the best defensive player over the past month. Couldn’t have happened to a better guy.
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