GLENDALE, Ariz. – Sherrick McManis usually makes key contributions on special teams, and Sunday’s game against the Cardinals in Arizona was no different.
Early in the second half, the longest tenured Bears player raced downfield and dropped punt returner Christian Kirk for no gain at his own 15 with a diving open-field tackle.
But McManis also delivered impact plays on defense Sunday, helping the Bears turn a 14-0 deficit into a thrilling 16-14 victory by registering an interception, sack, tackle-for-loss, quarterback hit and pass breakup.
“My mindset is the same every game,” said McManis, who is in his seventh season with the Bears. “Do what I’m called to do and do my best at it and try to make some plays.”
With the Bears trailing 14-10 late in the third quarter, McManis dove to intercept a Sam Bradford pass at the Cardinals’ 44 that was intended for receiver Chad Williams. It was the second interception of McManis’ career and first since he was a rookie with the Texans in 2010 and picked off the Giants’ Eli Manning.
“I came out there and bailed back,” McManis said, “and kind of saw this receiver curl up, so I broke on it when I saw the quarterback wind up and throw.”
McManis later iced the win by sacking rookie quarterback Josh Allen on the game’s final play after the Cardinals had advanced to their own 46 with :05 remaining. Allen had replaced Bradford with 4:31 left in the fourth quarter.
“I loved it,” McManis said of his first career sack. “It was a great call. The coaches did an awesome job putting us in the right places and we did a good job executing.”
Mack attack: All-Pro outside linebacker Khalil Mack had another outstanding game for the Bears, recording a team-leading five tackles and two sacks while also compiling one forced fumble, three quarterback hits and one tackle-for-loss.
It was the 10th multi-sack outing of Mack’s five-year NFL career and his first with the Bears. Mack has recorded a sack and a forced fumble in all three games this season. He leads the Bears with four sacks and tops the league with three forced fumbles.
“I’m glad he’s on our team,” said coach Matt Nagy. “He’s making everybody on that defense better. Khalil’s going to be the first one to tell you that it’s about those 10 other guys as well. Those guys collectively together, it’s across the board. They’re playing fast right now. They’re trusting each other, and they do it in practice. When it transfers over to games, it doesn’t surprise you because they do it in practice.”
Mack’s biggest play Sunday came early in the fourth quarter. The Cardinals were looking to add to their 14-13 lead when Bradford took off running on second-and-eight from the Bears’ 21. Mack hit Bradford from the side, forcing a fumble that linebacker Danny Trevathan recovered.
“I knew he was going to have the ball in his right hand,” Mack said. “I got my head out of the way because that’s a big part of the rules nowadays and tried to make a play. It was what we worked on all week, punching the ball out. That’s what all the coaches were preaching all week.”
On the ground: The Bears placed a greater emphasis on establishing their ground game, especially early. Jordan Howard rushed for 61 yards and one touchdown on 24 carries, while Tarik Cohen gained 53 yards on five attempts.
Howard and Cohen combined to rush for 48 yards on the Bears’ opening drive Sunday after being limited to 43 yards on the ground in last Monday night’s win over the Seahawks.
Bouncing back: After pushing a 46-yard field goal attempt wide right in the first quarter, Cody Parkey rebounded to make his final three tries, hitting from 20, 41 and 43 yards. His 43-yarder gave the Bears a 16-14 lead with 4:31 to play in the game.
“It’s crappy to miss and it’s crappy to start with a miss,” Parkey said. “I got support from the whole team. That felt good. I just knew I had to go out and make the next one. I’m human. Perfectionism is what you want; unfortunately, you don’t always get it. But you just go out and try to make the next one.”
Parkey has now made 7-of-8 field goal attempts in three games this season.
Injury update: Two Bears players did not finish Sunday’s contest due to injuries. Rookie receiver Anthony Miller suffered a dislocated shoulder, while cornerback Prince Amukamara sustained a hamstring injury.