One week after being blanked on the stat sheet in a loss to the Rams, Khalil Mack showed up early and often in Sunday’s 19-14 win over the Giants.
The All-Pro outside linebacker tackled running back Saquon Barkley on the third play of the game, but that was only Mack’s opening act. The perennial Pro Bowler produced one of his patented strip/sacks of quarterback Daniel Jones in the third quarter, swinging the momentum in the Bears’ direction.
“You felt ‘52’ everywhere today,” said coach Matt Nagy. “You really did. He was everywhere. When we have that, you can feel our game really elevate, and that’s what it’s all about.”
Mack now has 20 career forced fumbles, including 11 in two seasons with the Bears. His sack increased his total this year to a team-leading 6.5.
Special effort: Playing gunner on the punt coverage team, veteran Cordarrelle Patterson made three huge plays.
In the second quarter, he made a touchdown-saving tackle on Jabrill Peppers’ 40-yard punt return at the Bears’ 29. Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas eventually missed a 42-yard field goal on the drive.
In the fourth period, Patterson caught Pat O'Donnell's 34-yard punt at the Giants’ 3 and later dove to keep O’Donnell’s 61-yard punt from rolling into the end zone, swatting the ball back while prone to the ground.
“What [Patterson] did today on special teams was second-to-none,” Nagy said. “The way that field position flipped, for him to get down there and make those plays … I really appreciate that. That’s who he is. He takes a lot of pride in how he does that.”
Repeat success: On Sunday, the Bears scored a touchdown on their opening possession of the second half for the fifth straight game. This time it was Trubisky’s 32-yard pass to Allen Robinson II, capping a five-play, 60-yard drive and giving the Bears a 10-7 lead they would not relinquish.
“You'd like to have that coming out of the tunnel in the first quarter, so we've got to figure out a way to do that,” Trubisky said. “But I think just coming together, halftime adjustments, and when things get frustrating, we kind of pull together and have each other’s backs.
“Enough is enough, it’s the sloppiness, the mistakes, everything, it has to stop. We’ve got to get better as an offense. We have too much talent and we’re wasting, because we’re hurting ourselves, so we’ve just got to be better, and if everybody does their job I think we’ll be fine and I think that’s what you see in the third quarter coming out.”
On the run: Trubisky utilized his feet to make plays Sunday seemingly more than any other game this year. He rushed for 18 yards on seven attempts, including a 2-yard touchdown and a 12-yard scramble on third-and-11. The TD run was his first of the season. Trubisky also completed several passes on designed rollouts.
“You saw some nice runs right up the middle where he extended plays,” Nagy said. “He's a weapon when he does that. You could feel that. It was good.”
Quick turnaround: With the Bears visiting the Lions in four days on Thanksgiving, Nagy and his coaching staff won’t spend much time evaluating Sunday’s win.
“Very, very, very little on this game,” Nagy said. “Don't care, it's over with. So now we’ll see at some points that they might have attacked us, so they don’t take advantage of that next game. But I think for us time is of the essence. There’s no time here, so we have to get rolling. As a matter of fact I'll be in there tonight.”
Starting strong: The Bears have now not allowed a touchdown on their opponent’s opening possession in 21 straight games, the longest active streak in the NFL. The last TD the Bears permitted on an opponent’s first drive came on Oct. 21, 2018 in a loss to the Patriots at Soldier Field.
Eddy time: After missing both of his field-goal attempts from 47 and 49 yards last Sunday against the Rams, Eddy Piñeiro made both of his tries versus the Giants from 26 and 24 yards. He made 1-of-2 extra-point attempts, with the miss coming from 48 yards following two penalties.