Tillmans amazing season continues
From the first play Sunday, Tillman dominates Titans
Charles Tillman, left, and Chris Conte break up a pass in the end zone intended for Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt in the second quarter Sunday.
NASHVILLE — It took just one play Sunday for Charles Tillman to demonstrate yet again that he has no equal when it comes to separating opponents from the football.
After Matt Hasselbeck's 18-yard completion Kenny Britt, Tillman punched the ball loose from behind.
"It kind of set the tone for our football team right away," Bears coach Lovie Smith said after the 51-20 rout.
Brian Urlacher recovered, giving the offense excellent field position at the Titans' 46-yard line, which they promptly wasted.
No matter because Tillman was just getting warmed up. He finished with 4 forced fumbles, and the Bears recovered 3 of them against the Titans, who should know better.
Tillman now has 36 career forced fumbles, 15 more than any defensive back since he entered the league in 2003. He's second among all players since '03, trailing only the Colts' Robert Mathis, who has 38.
Tillman has 7 forced fumbles this season alone — in just eight games.
"I really can't explain it," Bears wide receiver Brandon Marshall said. "I see it in practice, and I saw it all during camp. He punched a couple out on me. It's just special being a part of. It's special to watch. I've never seen anything like it before."
As Tillman explains it, practice makes perfect. He works at his craft every day but the amazing thing is that he continues to pull off his specialty with more frequency even as he becomes more renowned for it.
"I don't think it's difficult," he said. "It's always on my mind. I'm very conscious of it. I speak it, I believe it, I practice it; it happens. But I really couldn't tell you why, all of a sudden, I'm getting more out."
Tillman's second forced fumble was recovered by Chris Conte at the Titans' 16-yard line and set up a 13-yard Jay Cutler-to-Brandon Marshall TD pass. No. 3 rolled out of bounds before a teammate could corral it, but his fourth takeaway was returned 15 yards by Kelvin Hayden to the Titans' 4-yard line and set up the Bears' final TD.
In addition to the 7 forced fumbles, Tillman has returned both of his interceptions for touchdowns, has recovered a fumble and been named NFC defensive player of the month for October.
"It's one of the best seasons that I've ever seen before," Bears defensive end Julius Peppers said. "Most of my (37 career) forced fumbles come from the blind side of the quarterback. He does it while the guy is looking at him and trying to run him over."
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