On the final play of Sunday's game, Bears defensive coordinator Vic Fangio sent the house to attack Cardinals rookie quarterback Josh Rosen. The blitz worked and cornerback Sherrick McManis took down Rosen for the first sack of his career, putting an exclamation point on another stellar defensive effort in the Bears' 16-14 win over the Cardinals.
It was a fitting ending to a game in which the defense lifted the Bears to their second straight victory, and it showed the type of ability the unit has with Fangio at the helm.
"It's the last play of the game," Fangio said Monday night during the Bears Coaches Show on WBBM Newsradio 780 AM and 105.9 FM. "They had to throw the ball to the end zone, and those plays take a long time, so rather than allow those receivers to get downfield and be able to Hail Mary, we decided to come after them a little bit."
The pressure worked all night long against Arizona. The Bears defense recorded four sacks and three interceptions. The Bears' 14 sacks on the season lead the league, and their five interceptions are tied for third most.
Before ending the game with a sack, McManis came up big with one of the Bears' three interceptions on the night. Midway through the third quarter, with the Bears trailing by four, McManis dove to his right to pick off a dart from Cardinals quarterback Sam Bradford.
"Sherrick's always ready to go for us," Fangio said. "He's a very valuable guy to this football team, besides the special teams work that he does, and we're glad to have him.
"I've always thought he could and should be a defensive player, with the way he can run and the ability he shows in special teams, and I still haven't given up on that, and we've been using him."
During the Monday night radio show, the veteran defensive coordinator also touted another standout in the Bears secondary, safety Eddie Jackson. Early in the second half, Jackson tracked a deep ball from Bradford and picked it off. The interception led to the Bears' only touchdown of the night after the change of possession.
"Your safeties have to be able to play a lot in space and cover a lot of ground, cover receivers whether it be within a man [defense] or within a zone," Fangio said. "Eddie's been doing a great job for us in all those areas."
Of course, for the third week in a row, Fangio was also impressed with linebacker Khalil Mack. Mack had two sacks and a forced fumble. He's had a forced fumble in each game this season, and his four sacks on the year is tied for best in the league. Fangio noted he's been most delighted by Mack's attitude.
"The thing that has been most impressive with him is the guy doesn't have an ounce of prima donna in him, he's a team guy," Fangio said. "There's no question that when a really great player is a team player and plays hard, and you can see he really wants to win the game for the team, and he's placing the team in front of himself, he's got no prima donna in him, that does nothing but help everybody."
Mack and the rest of the defense have a big test in Week 4 against the Buccaneers. Tampa was the league's highest scoring offense through two weeks, and Fangio knows it will be a challenge to stop them.
They've been very explosive these first two weeks," Fangio said. "They've got big play people on their offense in [receiver DeSean] Jackson and [receiver Mike] Evans. They've got a good group of tight ends, and [quarterback Ryan] Fitzpatrick is slinging it right now. … They'll be a stiff challenge for us, and it'll be a good test."