Khalil Mack and the Bears defense regained their September form even if they failed to prevent a 17-16 loss Sunday to the Los Angeles Chargers.
Mack sacked Philip Rivers on second down of the Chargers' last possession to help force a punt and give the offense a chance to drive for what looked like the winning field goal, but Eddy Pineiro missed from 41 yards as time expired.
"Obviously you don't want to lose, I hate losing," Mack said. "But at the same token you've got to look at this one and learn from it."
Mack has 5 1/2 sacks on the season now and his last sack had been Sept. 29 in the 16-6 win over the Minnesota Vikings. On the key sack, he said he was anticipating another double-team, something which has become regular strategy for any Bears opponent against Mack.
"I thought I was going to get another chip block from the tight end," Mack said. "I'm looking at that all the time, trying to see who's coming in and who's coming out."
Whatever the Chargers tried on offense didn't work with any consistency against the Bears defense.
The Bears held Rivers to a season-low 201 passing yards, and the Chargers came into the game third in the league in passing. The Chargers had a season-low 11 first and Kyle Fuller made his third interception of the year to set up a Bears field goal. It still wasn't enough, and it ate at the Bears defensively that they gave up the go-ahead touchdown after quarterback Mitchell Trubisky lost a fumble at the Bears 28 in the fourth quarter.
"We played OK but we have to come away and play a little harder at the end," Trevathan said. "I like the way we came out, the offense came out and got the game together. It’s never perfect, never what you want."
The way the Bears defended the run pleased Mack at least as much as the pass rush or defense. The Chargers essentially gave up on the run. They had a 19-yard run in the second quarter by Melvin Gordon for a touchdown, but on their other 11 carries they gained 17 yards. The Chargers' inability to run proved huge in forcing a punt on the Chargers' final drive. They had to try to pass to get a first down and run out the clock and Mack made the sack.
"That's playing," Mack said. "You want to make the team one-dimensional, especially those guys. You've just got to cut down those points."
Or have the offense score a few more?
"There's no finger-pointing or blame game," Trevathan said. "We're going to get back in line. We're all going to push one another and on a team like this we're going to face adversity, but you can get better or you can get worse. In this situation, I feel like we're going to get better. Either people are with us or against us."
After allowing 24 and 35 points in two games, the effort at least showed the defense hasn't gone into a free fall with nine games still to be played.
"It's going to be huge for us to step up and take over games and dominate games at this point," Mack said.
It was good, at least, to hear Mack talking after he hadn't spoken to media since before the loss in London on Oct. 6.
"There's a whole lot of talking we could do," Mack said. "I'm an action guy."