Charles Tillman among defenders who thrived in Week 9

These guys might not exactly be carrying a lunch pail to the stadium each week, but they did bring a diligent, blue-collar, working-man approach to Week 9. Take a look at all the nominees, then vote in the poll at the bottom of the right column for your choice for the Hardest-Working Man.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

Mikel Leshoure got the touchdowns, but Johnson helped set up each one with big receptions on the three scoring drives that resulted in Leshoure scores in the Lions' 31-14 win. The affectionately called "Megatron" had five receptions for 99 yards before the Jacksonville Jaguars even recorded a first down. Johnson finished the day with seven catches for 129 yards, a day's work put in after getting a pain-killing shot in his wounded left knee.

Charles Johnson, Carolina Panthers

It's easy to forget about the performances between the hash marks when the two previous Heisman Trophy winners square off in one of the most-anticipated showdowns of the season when the schedule came out back in April. However, the Panthers -- and their frontman Cam Newton -- came out on top in a 21-13 decision over the Washington Redskins -- and their frontman Robert Griffin III -- due to the efforts in the trenches of men such as Johnson. Johnson registered two sacks on RG3, including one on a big fourth-down stop that helped the Panthers keep their advantage and end a five-game losing streak.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers were able to hold off the Oakland Raiders for an exciting 42-32 victory due to the electric talents of Martin, the team's second first-round pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. Martin's work included a franchise-record 251 yards on the ground, plus four touchdowns (tying a franchise record). Those 251 yards represent the 10th-most single-season rushing yards in league history.

Von Miller, Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning earned the headlines, but Miller helped make sure the quarterback improved to 8-0 in his career against the Cincinnati Bengals in a 31-23 win at Paul Brown Stadium. Miller had a career-high three sacks against the Bengals, and now has nine sacks on the season. Those nine total sacks ties Miller for second in the NFL with Clay Matthews and DeMarcus Ware (J.J. Watt is the current sack leader with 10.5).

Charles Tillman, Chicago Bears

Another dominant performance for the modern-day "Monsters of the Midway" assured that the Chicago Bears left Nashville with a 51-20 embarrassment of the Tennessee Titans. Tillman continued his amazing run of creating turnovers this season. Tillman forced four fumbles in the win, which was the first time since 1984 that a player forced that many fumbles. Tillman has seven forced fumbles this season, not to mention two interceptions -- each of which has been returned for touchdowns.

Follow Jim Reineking on Twitter @jimreineking.

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