Charles Tillman and the Bears are playing stifling defense. Again.

November 5, 2012

Charles Tillman and Chris Conte epitomized the Bears’ ball-hawking defense. (Wesley Hitt / Getty Images)

The way the Chicago Bears’ defense is playing, who needs an offense?

In the Bears’ 51-20 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, it was Charles Tillman and the defense that had the eye-popping day, despite those 51 points. Tillman forced four fumbles and returned two interceptions for touchdowns.

“I think we are all seeing history being made,” linebacker Lance Briggs said after the Bears moved to 7-1 ahead of Sunday night’s game against the 7-1 Houston Texans in what shapes up as a classic defensive battle. 

Tillman has forced seven fumbles this season and, since 2003, has forced 36. Only Robert Mathis of the Indianapolis Colts has caused more and Tillman passed the Colts’ Dwight Freeney and his teammate, Julius Peppers, Sunday on the list.

“Most of mine come from the blind side of the quarterback,” Peppers said (via the Sun-Times’ Sean K. Jensen). “He does it while the guy is looking at him and trying to run him over. He does it in a different way, so it makes it a little more impressive.”

The Bears have won six straight games and, for a change, no one is talking about Jay Cutler’s behavior.

“We like where we are right now,” Coach Lovie Smith said. “I know this defense is doing some things that no other defense has done that I’ve been a part of. You know scoring touchdowns, the amount of takeaways we’ve been able to get. That is special what we have going at the halfway point.”

En route to their highest-scoring game since Dec. 7, 1980, the Bears scored 28 points in the first quarter — led by three turnovers that resulted in 14 points in the first 13 minutes.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Brian Urlacher said. “Every week it seems like we are talking about one of those two corners doing something like that. A defensive lineman I can understand getting sacks, but as a corner to get four like that, it’s unbelievable.”

Urlacher, who had knee surgery in August, had a pick six himself. “We have been waiting for Brian to really step up like that,” Smith said. “Outstanding job by him. Touchdown, caused fumble, recovered fumble. The defense was a frenzy out there, really taking the ball away.”

But it was Tillman leading the way. “I’m confident in my technique, my team, my talent,” he said. “I think when it’s all said and done, you can put my stats with other corners in the league, and I think it’ll hold true.

“I can be in the same sentence.”

Follow us: @CindyBoren | @MattBrooksWP

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After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.
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Cindy Boren · November 5, 2012

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