Mack Was Who We Thought He Was

Mack Was Who We Thought He Was

I am not going to delve into the final outcome of the Chicago Bears Sunday night season opener against our lifetime rival Green Bay Packers. Dissecting the game, specifically the 4th quarter, would just be too hard right now. It's just too soon. However, that doesn't mean we still can't talk about the Bears. So, lets focus on something positive from the game. I am going to look past the fact that Aaron Rodgers ripped my still beating heart out of my body in the 4th quarter last Sunday night. I am going to ignore the fact that Rodgers then took my beating heart (which, please keep in mind, my heart is out of my body at this point. Without my heart inside my body, no oxygen can be pumped, thus killing me. So, at this point, I am already dead because my heart is no longer in my body. Just wanted to make that clear) and proceeded to take an assault rifle and pump 1000 rounds into my now lifeless body. Rodgers, not done yet, as he is an absolute monster of a human, then decided to take a flamethrower to my remains, leaving nothing left that could resemble a smidgen of my existence on this earth. Despite witnessing one of the worst collapses of my life (2nd to the 2003 Cubs NLCS), I want to focus on the positives. The positives are all I got.

In saying that, let's talk about Khalil Mack. Thank you Ryan Pace for delivering us Mack. During the first half of his first game as a Bear, I was 85% convinced I was in some sort of Truman Show type shit with how scripted his performance was on the football field. In the NBA, one player can easily sway the outcome of a game with little assistance from their teammates. Think Russell Westbrook; he has teammates, but the Oklahoma City Thunder basically win or lose based on his performance alone. In football, the only position that really has that type of pull is the quarterback, and even the quarterback depends on a half dozen variables to see success (o-linemen need to block, wide receivers need to catch the ball, etc.). Mack was rewriting that script in the 1st half Sunday night.

When I watch a football game, my focus is primarily on the ball (that is not a revolutionary concept. I understand). However, with Mack, the newest member of Chicago royalty, on the field, my eyes were locked on him for every defensive snap he was on the field and it brought me absolute joy. I advise every survivor from last Sunday to give it a try on Monday night when we take on the Seattle Seahawks. Mack, who sat out the entire pre-season and hadn't been in a game since 2017, seemed to get to the quarterback on almost every play. His sheer power and speed were on full display and I never appreciated watching a pass rusher as much as I did watching him attack the Packers offensive line with such violence. He was everything he was talked up to be and more. By the end of the 1st half, I felt that Mack worth was a baker's dozen 1st round picks. I was in awe.

We all know the stat line, but let me write it out, strictly for therapeutic reasons. This writing exercise could ease the life-shattering trauma that was Sunday night; 3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 1 interception, 1 defensive touchdown. Writing that down and reading it back helped. The fact that he is the 1st player in 36 years to put up that line in one half speaks volumes to the transcendent talent that Mack is. The Bears had 22 defensive takeaways in 2017 and Mack had two in the 1st half while playing limited snaps. The guy can flat out play football and is the definition of a play maker. He is the alpha our defense has lacked since Lance Briggs hung up his cleats in 2014. I cannot begin to understand how the Oakland Raiders gave him to us, but I will be a fan of theirs until the day I die. I am forever in their debt.

We have 15 games left this season and by no means is the season over, despite the reenactment of the final scene of Django Unchained we experienced last Sunday night. Mack gave us everything we are asking from him and more. He single handily almost won us the game, despite our lackluster offensive performance and secondary that resembled the Chris Conte era (still gives me nightmares). The offensive will improve over the course of this season (hopefully), as will Matt Nagy competence as a head coach. Mack, believe it or not, will also improve as he becomes more familiar with the Bears defense. Our next date with the Packers in December, giving the Bears ample time to get prepared to redeem themselves. I have no doubt Mack will be ready to feast on the Packers offensive line that Thursday morning, but will the rest of the Bears?

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