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Tillman joins elite company with latest weekly honor

LAKE FOREST – Not only did Bears cornerback Charles Tillman earn NFC player of the week honors for the second time in three weeks, but he did so without recording an interception.

Bears coach Lovie Smith said that fact stood out to him when the league announced Tillman’s award Tuesday. Tillman limited Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson to 34 yards on three receptions Monday while registering nine tackles, two forced fumbles and two pass break-ups.

“It’s hard to do,” Smith said. “And that says just how special that performance was, which it was, by Charles Tillman. 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.”

Including this season, Tillman has won three player-of-the-week awards. He joined Richard Dent (six times) and Brian Urlacher (five times) as the only Bears’ defenders to win the award at least three times during his career.

Tough guy: Bears offensive coordinator Mike Tice said left guard Chilo Rachal stood out for his toughness in Monday’s 13-7 win against Detroit.

“We’re in the pocket, pass protecting, and he’s knocking guys on the ground,” Tice said. “You would think of an offensive lineman, ‘OK, they’re going to be physical in the run game.’ I remember saying one time, ‘Hey, big guys can’t be big backing up.’

“But I tell you, this group that we have now in the pocket are knocking guys around. Just go back and look at the game. There’s a lot of guys on the ground, and that’s a good thing.”

Best behavior: Bears quarterback Jay Cutler praised fans for being quieter Monday when the offense was on the field, which helped his teammates to hear his play calls and snap counts.

Earlier this season, Cutler sarcastically lectured fans not to scream before plays when the offense lined up near the goal line.

“They’re responding a lot quicker,” Cutler said. “You heard a lot of, ‘Shhhh,’ as I was telling people to be quiet and the fans in the stadium. We’re getting better. Just like us, they’re learning and they’re growing and I was proud to see that.”

Bears bits: Injured receiver Alshon Jeffery (hand) is the only player who would have missed practice if the Bears had taken the field Wednesday. “He’ll still be out for awhile,” Smith said. … The Bears announced a multi-year deal with CBS Radio Chicago to keep game broadcasts on WBBM-AM 780 and 105.9 FM, along with added features on the network’s five other stations.


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