Tennessee Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck has had some recent success against the Bears defense. But the 14-year NFL veteran knows that he’ll face a difficult test Sunday in Nashville.
In three starts versus the Bears since 2007-all with the Seattle Seahawks-Hasselbeck passed for 337, 242 and 258 yards with six touchdowns, no interceptions and a 96.2 passer rating.
“I don’t even know what those numbers are, but I know that they’re a great defense,” Hasselbeck said. “They have been for a long time. Shoot, for like the last 50 years they’ve been known for having a great defense. It’s one of those teams that you really have to study and understand.”
The Bears defense is ranked No. 1 in the Aikman Ratings, which combines seven different statistical categories. During the team’s current five-game winning streak, the unit has returned six interceptions for touchdowns while allowing opponents to score only four TDs.
“They’ve got All-Pro players, guys that are perennial Pro Bowlers, guys that are great at their positions,” Hasselbeck said. “It’s a defense that you not only know because you watch them on TV as a fan but you also study them, and you sort of raise your game in preparation in a sense to try to be successful.”
Hasselbeck has especially been impressed with cornerbacks Tim Jennings and Charles Tillman. Jennings leads the NFL with a career-high six interceptions and was named NFC defensive player of the month for September. Tillman returned interceptions for touchdowns in back-to-back games, earning NFC defensive player of the week honors after both contests.
“They are two very different styles of corners, but two guys you have a great amount of respect for,” Hasselbeck said. “In particular these last few weeks, Tillman has been playing really well. He’s well known for creating turnovers, stripping the ball and being a very smart player.
“[Jennings] on the other side is different. He’s quicker and more aggressive. He’s smart and he understands when to take chance and when not to take chances. It’s a good tandem. They match up well against all the different teams.”
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