Gritty Performance

Desire gets Tillman interception, teammates' admiration

A little bit of old fashioned desire went a long way for Bears cornerback Charles Tillman Sunday.

It meant a Bears 13-10 win over the Minnesota Vikings

"Randy is 6-4, somewhere around there, and I just kind of knew what was going to be the play and I think I wanted it more than him on that particular play," Tillman said after wrestling the ball away from Moss in the end zone with 1:02 left to play to preserve a victory.

The Bears drafted the 6-foot-1 cornerback with the idea of letting him duel in the end zone with taller wide receivers in the NFC North like Moss. Now that he's done it, they think the sky is the limit for the second-round pick out of Louisiana-Lafayette.

"Its something he's got in his pocket now," defensive coordinator Greg Blache said. "You can't take that away from him. He's got that to build on.

"He's going to be a more confident and a better football player in the future."

Not that Tillman ever lacked confidence, though. Certainly, it's been one of his strengths. He shook off five early-season pass interference penalties and has earned repeated references as rookie of the year by teammates. The interception of Daunte Culpepper on a 10-yard pass to Moss gave him a team-high four on the season.

Tillman credited defensive backs coach Vance Bedford with alerting him during the week to the type of plays he should expect in the red zone.

"When they're in the red zone they run certain plays," Tillman said. "Everyone has habits. I think that was one of Minnesota's habits.

"He (Bedford) does a great job of letting us know that's the play they're going to run."

Plus, Tillman is good at math, so he figured it out himself.

"Moss, he's a veteran. I'm a rookie," Tillman said. "He's famous for going up and catching high balls. So I just kind of put 2 and 2 together and watching the film I just knew it was going to come. He had one hand on it and I just kind of yanked it out of his hand.

"I just kind of figured it was coming. In this league everybody runs the same plays. You get in the red zone: your go-to guy."

Moss had no comment on the play. He refused to do interviews afterward.

The Bears held Moss to four catches for 27 yards the first game, a 24-13 loss at Minnesota. On Sunday he had nine catches for 93 yards but none longer than 19 yards. The Bears' eighth-ranked pass defense held Minnesota to 222 passing yards. The Vikings came in averaging 250.9 to lead the league.

"It wasn't just me," Tillman said. "As far as our defense, I think we did a great job of keeping the passing down, keeping Randy Moss down. He got a little touchdown, but as far as deep balls, we kept them short, 10 yards a ball and stuff like that."

While Tillman credited the whole defense, Bears rookie quarterback Rex Grossman was ready to forego the formalities of balloting other players.

"There at the end, Charles Tillman just wanted the ball more than Randy did," Grossman said. "I think Charles should probably go to the Pro Bowl for that as far as I'm concerned."

Tillman smiled when he heard about the compliment. Results of Pro Bowl voting will be announced this week.

"That's good, but I think I have a long way to go before I get in the Pro Bowl," Tillman said. "I'm just taking it all in. I'm thankful that certain people out there think I should go to the Pro Bowl, but I don't think I'm expecting that."

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