Bengals’ A.J. Green on Tillman: ‘One of the best I’ve went up against’
BY SETH GRUEN Staff Reporter September 8, 2013 6:15PM
Updated: September 9, 2013 2:54PM
Cornerback Charles Tillman might be best known for his ability to create turnovers for the Bears. That was apparent when he had two interceptions in the first half of Sunday’s season opener against the Cincinnati Bengals.
But his value to the team was most apparent during the defensive series he missed.
Tillman got his second interception with 8:11 left in the second quarter, returned it 41 yards and was thrown to the ground on the Bears’ sideline. Immediately after, he was examined by the team’s training staff when he reported feeling sick.
He sat out the ensuing drive when Bengals wide receiver A.J. Green, who was guarded by Tillman throughout most of the game, had two receptions for 66 yards, including a 45-yard touchdown grab.
Tim Jennings covered Green on that drive.
“As a team, we’ve got to [get tough] and slow them down and realize that we’re pros also,” Jennings said. “But that’s just the impact [Tillman] has on our secondary. We definitely don’t want him out in situations like that. But good thing it wasn’t serious. He just had to catch his wind and he just came back, got there and made some plays for us.”
Tillman was said to be getting treatment postgame and did not speak to the media.
His effort was heralded by several of his defensive teammates. With Tillman in the game, Green caught seven passes for 96 yards and a score.
It wasn’t a dominant performance by Tillman. Green won the battle several times.
In the first quarter, Green beat Tillman deep on a 42-yard reception and three plays later had a two-yard touchdown catch. Tillman also committed a 34-yard pass-interference penalty on Green in the end zone in the third quarter that ultimately led to a score by the Bengals.
But Green is one of the toughest covers in the game and the Bengals throw his way so much that any corner is bound to get tired.
“I hope not just the people watching the game on television, but the people in this organization, know what kind of player No. 33 is,” linebacker Lance Briggs said. “He battled an elite receiver. With some of those big plays, you can’t get in better position than what he’s in.”
Tillman did his best work in the fourth quarter, when he limited Green to two catches for 17 yards. That drew him high praise from Green after the game.
“He’s good,” Green said. “A great corner, very crafty, probably one of the best in the game.”