Calvin Johnson, Aka "Megatron" Shut Down by Charles Tillman, Aka "Optimus Prime"
Calvin Johnson is Megatron.
So what do you call Charles Tillman, the man who stopped him?
The Bears call him Peanut, but after his game against Detroit that nickname may not last.
The Lions targeted Johnson 19 times but he caught just seven passes. Tillman knocked down three, intercepted another and returned it for a touchdown.
Detroit started the game trying to get Megatron involved. But his early success can be attributed to the soft zone coverage the Bears played during the opening drive. He caught four passes in the first quarter but gained just 31 yards.
And the coverage converged once it became clear Johnson was the primary target, resulting in a strip by Julius Peppers.
Megatron hadn't lost a fumble since December 27, 2009.
For the rest of the game, Tillman was all over the Decepticon leader.
Four times Stafford wanted to throw to Johnson but Tillman's coverage was too good. Stafford scrambled and was forced out of bounds on one play and managed to throw it away on two other occasions. He was sacked by Anthony Adams the fourth time.
And three times in the second quarter Stafford forced it to Megatron in the red zone. The first time, Tillman's positioning was excellent and the throw had to be high—too high even for Johnson.
The second time Tillman played Johnson against the sideline and he couldn't get to the ball.
The third was the best: Tillman knocked the ball from Calvin's hands on a fourth-down attempt that could have resulted in a touchdown. Detroit settled for a field goal.
After halftime, Stafford sailed a pass to his tight end that Major Wright transformed into six points on an easy interception return.
On their next possession, Tillman made a brilliant play to jump the route and beat Johnson to the ball. He knew it was coming before the receiver did (see video).
Megatron's only victory came later in the third quarter, when the Lions gambled with a deep pass on third-and-short. Chicago rolled up the corners to play tight, expecting a run, and that left Tillman on the line against Calvin. Johnson was bumped off the line but got past Tillman and caught Stafford's throw. He was forced out of bounds after a 40-yard gain.
But Detroit's drive sputtered and they didn't score. The big play didn't hurt.
When it mattered, Tillman came through. He allowed nothing in the red zone and was tough on third down, denying Johnson the single yard he needed to convert after a catch in the second quarter.
Johnson finished with seven catches for 81 yards, half of which came on a single play. It was his second-lowest yardage total in a game this season and the first time in a month he was held under 100 yards.
It was just the second time in nine games he didn't score a touchdown. And the Bears dismissed the Lions 37-13.
So Calvin may be Megatron, but that means Charles Tillman is no longer Peanut.
He's Optimus Prime.
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