The Chicago Bears paid a hefty price for Khalil Mack, both in draft capital and money.
As of halftime of Mack’s first game in a Bears’ uniform, it was all worth it.
The Bears went into the visitors’ locker room at Lambeau Field to the sweet sound of boos, as Packers fans expressed their displeasure with the team’s play to that point. Granted, a good deal of their frustration can be attributed to quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ being carted off the field with an apparent knee injury, but they also were seeing their team taking it on the chin courtesy of Mack and the Bears’ defense.
The Packers were already down 10-0 when Rodgers left the field and DeShone Kizer took over at quarterback.
On Kizer’s first possession and with Green Bay on third-and-goal from the 9, Mack strip-sacked Kizer, basically just taking the ball from the second-year quarterback.
KHALIL MACK! 💪💪💪
📺: NBC pic.twitter.com/RJMgWu78kg
— NFL (@NFL) September 10, 2018
When Mitchell Trubisky and the offense didn’t do anything with that turnover, Mack decided to just do things himself: Kizer was hit by Roy Robertson-Harris as he released the ball on third-and-long inside Packers’ territory and Mack snagged the ball out of the air, running it in 27 yards for the touchdown and a 17-0 Chicago lead.
It was the second touchdown of Mack’s career.
NBC flashed a graphic saying Mack was the first player to record a sack, interception, touchdown, forced fumble and fumble recovery in a single half – it also said since 1982, but that’s the year the NFL started keeping sacks as a statistic, so Mack could be the only player ever to do that in one half.
Doing all of those things in a single game isn’t that new to Mack – according to NFC Research, he was the last player to have all of those things in a game, doing it against Carolina in Week 12 of 2016.
‘You traded that guy???’
Predictably, Twitter had a lot to say about Mack’s play – and the massive mistake Jon Gruden made by trading Mack away rather than paying him what he’d earned as a three-time first-team All-Pro (in his first four NFL seasons).
Former Raiders defender Kirk Morrison tweeted a photo of former NFL and current Arizona State coach Herm Edwards, using words from Edwards’ infamous rant.
“You traded that guy??? Hellllloooooooooo,” Morrison tweeted, adding the hashtag “#PlayToWinTheGame.”