Bears notes: ‘Warrior’ Khalil Mack returns for second half

Bears notes: ‘Warrior’ Khalil Mack returns for second half

Bears outside linebacker Khalil Mack sprained his foot Sunday. | David Dermer/AP

After posting nine sacks last season, Mack has three in three games

CLEVELAND — Bears star Khalil Mack sprained his left foot in the first quarter Sunday, sat out the second quarter and then returned for the entire second half.

He sacked Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield on the first drive of the third quarter and finished with two sacks, two tackles for loss and two quarterback hits.

“It’s big, when a guy obviously is hurting, whatever the case may be, to come out there and show that he’s really dedicated to his teammates and doing whatever it takes to get out on the field,” inside linebacker Roquan Smith said. “So you tip your hat to the guy. The guy is a warrior and he fights every day.”

After posting nine sacks last season, Mack has three in three games. Fellow outside linebacker Robert Quinn has four total after getting 1 ½ against the Browns. The two have often rushed side-by-side on obvious passing downs under new coordinator Sean Desai; last year, they were on opposite ends of the line.

“It seems to give offenses a headache,” Quinn said. “Who are they going to double-team? … So I think it’s just a nice little change up every now and again to give the offense some problems. But we gotta make sure it’s effective and make sure it can affect the game in a good way.”

Mack has missed only two games in his Bears career — back-to-back contests in 2019.

Go for it?

Behind 13-3 late in the third quarter, the Bears faced fourth-and-2 at the Browns’ 4. Nagy said he considered going for it — briefly — before deciding to send Cairo Santos out to kick a 22-yard field goal to cut the lead to seven.

“At that point, too, the points were hard,” Nagy said. “And to be able to get that back to a one-score game was the ‘why’ part. To come out of there with nothing would have been a little bit deflating.”

Nagy said it “may have been a little different” were it fourth-and-1. He noticed quarterback Justin Fields lobbying to go for it.

“I do like the fact [Fields] wants to be aggressive,” Nagy said. “But we also have to be smart, too.”

This and that
  • Illinois alum Chase McLaughlin made a 57-yard field goal in the second quarter, the longest ever by a Browns kicker at FirstEnergy Stadium. “It was not my best hit,” he said. “But it felt good.”
  • Making his first start since 2018 because of Tashaun Gipson’s hamstring injury, safety Deon Bush made six tackles. On the first play of the game, he broke up a pass.
  • In his first game back after serving a two-game suspension for violation the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy, defensive lineman Mario Edwards recorded a sack in the second quarter.
  • Inside linebacker Joel Iyiegbuniwe left the game with a right hamstring strain.

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