Coming off a game in which he forced an incredible four fumbles,
Oh, and he also neutered
Tillman could miss the apocalyptic matchup with the
If the baby, the Tillmans' fourth, comes Sunday morning, he said he would play that night. Any later than that on Sunday, and he's swapping shoulder pads for a gown and booties, leaving the league's scariest defense with a big hole.
Thing is, Tillman's absence wouldn't be the biggest hole the Bears defense could face.
Peppers has zero forced fumbles and interceptions -- nothing close to Tillman's gaudy numbers even though Peppers starts each play closer to the ball.
Peppers has five sacks, less than half of Houston’s
But don't be stupid: Everything on the Bears defense starts with Peppers.
Every smart opponent game-plans for Peppers first. Failure to do so results in pain for the quarterback. Opponents start with a double-team and sometimes that’s not enough. Asking an offensive lineman to block Peppers without help is similar to a defense that single-covers
The attention that Peppers demands feeds everything the Bears do on defense. Such as
You might've heard the happy talk about depth along the defensive line that has given the Bears a deadly pass rush with just the front four. That starts with Peppers' getting moved all over the line and getting double-teamed whenever opponents can find him. The fact the Bears require only four men to pressure the quarterback makes the linebackers and secondary better.
The Bears have blitzed better than ever this season, but they don’t have to blitz at all. There isn’t the urgency to send extra men and risk openings in the defense because they are getting it done up front, which allows
Quarterbacks under pressure make bad decisions. Bears defenders are in position to intercept the ball or pop it loose. The Bears lead the league in takeaways and have returned seven picks for scores, leaving the defense just four touchdowns behind Jacksonville's offense. Connect the dots, people.
No question, the linebackers and defensive backs have been good and opportunistic. I’m taking nothing away from Tillman’s fabulous skills,