Khalil Mack, Bears relentlessly harass Tom Brady: ‘We smelled blood’
Khalil Mack looks like Khalil Mack again: "We Smelled Blood" originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
Tom Brady was 5-0 against the Chicago Bears in his career. Khalil Mack made it 5-1.
If it wasn't his best game as a Bear, it was at least his most significant as Mack led the Bears to a 20:19 win over the Buccaneers on Thursday at Soldier Field.
"We smelled a little blood in the water," said Mack.
Two sacks. Three hits on Brady. Two tackles for the loss. A pass struck down. And it would have been three sacks had it not been for a very questionable roughing of the passerby call.
At one point, Mack literally fired Brady and attacked Tristan Wirfs. He flipped the rookie over after finishing quarterback because Wirfs was still holding onto him. When asked about the game to explain it, Mack couldn't:
"No. I cannot explain this man. It just happens. "
Well it happens when you are Khalil Mack. Add the piece to his iconic Chicago collection - just like the time he dumped Aaron Rodgers with his bum. Or the time he hit 305 pounds, Riley grabbed Reiff in one arm like a fly.
But as good as Mack is, it's been a while since Chicago saw him perform like this - the kind of game he's undoubtedly the best player on the field - when he played for the opposing team Essentially ruined.
“The guy played his tail, man. That’s what you get big money for doing the things he does, ”said Bear's linebacker Roquan Smith. “Very excited for the guy. Happy that he's my teammate. Show up in great moments and do great things. "
As is typical of Mack, he was quick to give his teammates recognition. The game ended in a 4-6 stop, 38 seconds ahead, and Mack pointed out that Safety DeAndre Houston-Carson "ran the receiver's route for him" to break Brady's pass. He also gave cornerback Kyle Fuller credit for his game-winning goal against Buccaneers that knocked off Ke’Shawn Vaughn, which was originally classified as a penalty but eventually became takeaway for the Bears after a retest. Four games later, Nick Foles hit Jimmy Graham for a touchdown to give the Bears an unlikely 14-13 lead at halftime, after the Bucs beat them for most of the first half.
"(Kyle) finally got a call that was going his way," said Mack. “He always plays hard. He had the same hit as four weeks ago. It went the other way. Same game, man. This guy is an all-pro player. You see the professionalism. It was an impressive game. Nice game. Nice soccer game. "
It would also be nice to have a way to describe the constant pressure the bears put on Brady, who is 43 years old and doesn't like being met. In total, the Bears scored eight quarterback hits that night, and after a sequence in the third quarter that included multiple hits and multiple penalties, Brady was caught on camera yelling at his offensive linemen as they came off the field. The game ended when Brady apparently forgot what it was. After Houston-Carson canceled the 4th and 6th passes, Brady held up four fingers as if he thought there was still a failure. He's no longer in New England and the bears put the goat in a rare moment.
"It clicked tonight like I knew it," said Mack. "It clicked at the right time ... against one of the best ever."
While the offense still has some work to do to earn more points, the pressure the bears put on Brady was a welcome sight. In Thursday's game, defensive tackle Akiem Hicks led the team in sacks with 3.5 and quarterback hits with nine. Mack played well on tape, but the sacks didn't show up on the statistics sheet as he only had 1.5 to four games. And as well as he played, there wasn't this signature game - like the one he played against the Bucs.
The last time Mack competed Brady was in 2018, when the Patriots won 38-31. The Pass Rusher had an ankle injury and was clearly not 100 percent. The Bears struggled to get Brady out of his seat and Mack missed the next two games because of the injury.
This was a different version of Mack. It was the version that Chicago saw for most of 2018 when he was healthy - the version they need to get back to the playoffs.
"It's been great to see the success of the hard work we've done, but there's more hard work," said Mack. “There is no slacking off from this group. I'll do my best to make sure of that. "
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