Mack Is Back for Bears in Ugly Win over Giants
Khalil Mack looked like his old self Sunday for the Bears against the New York Giants.
So did Mitchell Trubisky, for better or worse.
Mack came up with a huge strip-sack in the third quarter to set up the decisive points when Trubisky bulled in from the 2 for a touchdown and the Bears came away with an ugly 19-14 win over the struggling New York Giants.
"That's what we do, that's what we want to do on defense— make it easy for our offense and get turnovers," Mack said. "We were going to score for ourselves."
They nearly did that when Mack knocked the ball out of Daniel Jones' hand as he took it back to pass at the Giants 14. Nick Williams fell on the ball at the 3, and then on third-and-goal from the 2 Trubisky ran around right end and lowered his shoulder to get into the end zone for a 19-7 lead.
It was Mack's second sack in seven games, as he ended a slump, and the energy level soared for the Bears (5-6) with the play.
"Again, credit to all the players on defense, to the coaches, for these guys really fighting, and you felt 52 everywhere today," Bears coach Matt Nagy said. "You really did. He was everywhere.
"You know, when we have that, you can feel our game really elevate, and that's what it's all about."
The same happened on Trubisky's 2-yard TD plunge, as defensive players came forward to congratulate him on the sideline.
"Everybody on the sideline was celebrating, like, we felt energy," safety Eddie Jackson said.
Trubisky's performance was as shaky as it has been much of the season despite the TD run, and his 32-yard TD pass to Allen Robinson on the first Bears drive of the third quarter. He was 25 of 41 for a season-high 278 yards but also threw two interceptions, including one in the end zone on a miscommunication with Robinson to kill a scoring chance.
"Happy we won, but it's not good enough," Trubisky said. "Not nearly good enough from this offense, from myself. We can't have the turnovers. Got to be better on third down. Got to the better in the red zone."
The Bears went 4 of 15 (27%) on third downs and again couldn't do anything until late in the second quarter, when they finally drove 59 yards to Eddy Pineiro's 26-yard field goal with eight seconds left until halftime.
Fortunately, they had the defense holding Brown and the Giants (2-7) to 1 of 12 on third down (8%), although they did allow two fourth-down conversions including a 23-yard fourth-and-18 TD pass to longtime Bear nemesis Golden Tate. That cut the lead to 19-14, but after a 61-yard punt by Patrick O'Donnell pinned the Giants back on their final possession to the 6, the Bears forced a final incompletion on fourth down at the Giants 35 to end it.
"We led with under nine minutes left so we had it in the back of our minds that we just wanted to finish," Jackson said.
The Bears were cold at the outset again and it left them groping for an answer.
"I have no idea," running back Tarik Cohen said. "If I had that I'd either be a coach or I'd tell the coach and we'd get it rolling."
And aagain they had a brief offensive surge in the middle of the game, as they scored a TD on the first drive of the third quarter for the fifth straight game, and then added a 24-yard Pineiro field goal before the TD after Mack's forced fumble.
Chicago's defense dodged two first-half Giant opportunities when Aldrick Rosas missed field goals of 42 and 43 yards, after the Giants had scored on a 3-yard Jones TD flip rolling left to Kaden Smith in the second quarter.
Still, they held Jones to 21 of 36 for 150 yards and held Saquon Barkley to 17 runs for 59 yards. And they had the big turnover from Mack when they needed it.
"Turnovers are huge especially down the stretch," Mack said of his 11th forced fumble as a Bear. "No surprise that that one was a huge play down the stretch. That's what we needed to win the game."