More often than not, when the Chicago Bears have really needed Charles Tillman to come through, he has. Whether it be a critical interception, a well timed ball punch, or a man to man match-up situation, he has been a top performer for the Bears since being drafted in 2003.
Throughout his career he's had numerous memorable plays, which should be expected since he's had a hand in over 70 combined takeaways. A couple highlight moments that stand out to me were the interception he stole from Randy Moss to save a touchdown early in his career, and the scoop and score in the "Bears are who we thought they were" comeback win against Arizona.
This season we've already witnessed a few more career defining moments for Tillman. He had the consecutive interceptions returned for scores against the Cowboys and the Jaguars, but then last night he had another classic Peanut moment. I'm not talking about the 2 additional forced fumbles he added to his resume, but rather his touchdown saving pass break up against Calvin Johnson.
On 1st and goal from the 1 yard line, late in the 3rd quarter, Charles Tillman thrust his right hand up and knocked Megatron's hand off the ball. It was a sure TD as Calvin Johnson had the ball in both hands before Tillman made the play. The sequence of plays really stood out, because on the play prior to the knock away, Tillman was flagged for pass interference. Stubbornly, Detroit went right back to Johnson, and Tillman was more than up to the challenge.
The very next play was the forced fumble by Henry Melton that Brian Urlacher picked up, and another Red Zone trip was successfully thwarted.
Tillman was matched up with Johnson for the majority of the game, and he finished his evening with 7 tackles, 2 forced fumbles, and 2 passes defended. But those numbers only scratch the surface on how good he played. Detroit quarterback Matt Stafford targeted Johnson a game high 11 times, and Tillman helped hold the best receiver in the game to 3 catches for 34 yards. Two of those catches came when Detroit was in full blown catch up mode, and the Bears were content to allow the Lions to catch the ball in front of them.
With the Bears playing lights out defense, and Peanut making memorable plays in nationally televised games, I'd expect a 2nd straight Pro Bowl appearance for him.