For the second time in three weeks, Chicago Bears CB Charles Tillman was named NFC Defensive Player of the Week after recording nine tackles, two forced fumbles and two pass break ups in Chicago's 13-7 victory over the Detroit Lions.
Tillman helped hold Lions WR Calvin Johnson to 34 yards on three receptions and broke up a pass in the end zone on first-and-goal from the 1 in the third quarter. On the next play, DT Henry Melton knocked the ball loose from Lions RB Joique Bell, which was recovered by LB Brian Urlacher – one of three red zone takeaways for the Bears defense.
Tillman won the award despite not intercepting a pass against Detroit.
"I'll just say, it's hard to do, and that says just how special that performance was, which it was, by Charles Tillman," coach Lovie Smith said. "He's an excellent football player. He does so much and you see it time after time. He's a consistently good football player for us and I'm glad others took notice."
This is Tillman's third NFC Defensive Player of the Week award (Week 8, 2005; Week 5, 2012). Tillman joins Hall of Famer Richard Dent (six times) and Urlacher (five times) as the only Bears players to be honored as Defensive Player of the Week three or more times and is the first defensive player to win the award in back-to-back contests.
Smith said Tillman's success comes from both his athletic ability and his work ethic.
"First off, if you don't have athletic ability, you don't have a chance. And then from there, yeah, it's experience, know how, working hard, just constantly improving your craft, your trade. All those things are what Charles Tillman is all about."
Each day Tillman gets to cover Bears receiver Brandon Marshall, which Smith said has helped Tillman take his game to the next level.
"For Charles to have a chance, going way back to when Brandon first got here, to just matchup with a big, physical target each day at practice has to help you."
Earlier in the year, fellow CB Tim Jennings was named NFC Defensive Player of the Month for September.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.