Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman had the unenviable chore of covering the Bengals' Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green much of Sunday afternoon in the Bears' 24-21 victory.
Green led all players with 9 catches, 162 yards and 2 touchdowns. But Tillman intercepted 2 passes intended for the 6-foot-4 Bengal in the first half.
The first pick, at the Bengals' 35-yard line, set the Bears up for the game's opening touchdown. Tillman's second pick was made while he was flat on his back following a collision after an Andy Dalton pass deflected off Green's hands.
Tillman got up and returned his 35th career interception 41 yards, breaking five tackles along the way during a run that would have made Adrian Peterson proud.
The 11-year veteran is third in career picks in franchise history, trailing only Gary Fencik (38) and Richie Petitbon (37).
"I hope that, not just the people watching the game on television, but the people in this organization know what kind of a player No. 33 is," linebacker Lance Briggs said of Tillman, who is in the final year of his contract.
"He battled an elite receiver. But to get the ball out and create turnovers and get interceptions, that's what we're all about, and Peanut is the pinnacle of it."
A dehydrated Tillman missed the next series after his arduous return, and the Bengals took advantage. Dalton went to Green twice for 66 yards, including a 45-yard TD on a double move that left Tim Jennings badly beaten and appreciative of his fellow corner.
"He knew he had a task coming into this game," Jennings said. "A.J. Green is a great player, an explosive player, (but) any time when we know that Peanut is going to match up against a great player, we feel like Peanut is going to make some plays.
"That's just the type of guy he is. He's a competitor. He's smart and a hard worker. You have to take your hat off to him for doing a great job."
Jennings deserves a tip of the cap as well for what may have been the biggest play of the game.
With the Bengals leading 21-17 early in the fourth quarter and at the Bears' 27 following a Jay Cutler interception, Jennings got the ball back. After Mohamed Sanu took a short pass to the Bears' 17, Jennings forced a fumble, sticking his helmet on the ball, knocking it loose and recovering it.
Jennings also forced an earlier fumble, but it rolled out of bounds before the Bears could recover.