Chicago Bears linebacker Khalil Mack has been named the NFC Defensive Player of the Month in recognition of his dominating performance throughout the month of September.
Mack is the first Bear to win defensive player of the month honors since Charles “Peanut” Tillman in October of 2012. It is the second such honor for Mack, after winning AFC Defensive Player of the Month honors in November of 2016 with the Raiders.
In his first month as a Chicago Bear, Mack, in his first four games, has recorded 5.0 sacks for minus-30 yards, four forced fumbles, one interception return for a score, four quarterback hurries, three tackles-for-loss, one fumble recovery, two passes defensed and 17 total tackles. Mack’s efforts have helped the Bears to a 3-1 start to the season, sitting atop the NFC North standings heading into their Week 5 bye.
In the 2018 season opener at Green Bay, Mack recorded three tackles, 1.0 sack for minus-12 yards, one interception for a touchdown, one pass defensed, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery. In doing so, Mack became the first player since 1982, when sacks became a statistic, to record a sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery, interception and touchdown in one half.
The following week vs. Seattle, Mack had five tackles and recorded a strip-sack of Russell Wilson in the fourth quarter to help Chicago earn its first win of the season.
In the Week 3 win at Arizona, Mack recorded 2.0 sacks – one a strip-sack as Arizona was driving deep into Chicago territory in the fourth quarter – to go along with three QBH and five tackles.
Then this past Sunday against Tampa Bay, Mack recorded yet another strip-sack as Chicago limited Tampa Bay’s top-ranked offense to just 311 net yards and 10 points. The Buccaneers were averaging 473.3 yards per game and 34.0 points through the first three weeks of the season coming into their meeting with the Bears.
Mack is currently tied for second in the NFL with his 5.0 sacks on the season, a half sack behind the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Lawrence (5.5). He is the first NFL player with a sack and forced fumble in four straight games since Robert Mathis in 2005 and is one of only two players since 1994, when forced fumbles were first recorded, to record four forced fumbles through the first four weeks of the NFL season (Tony Brackens, 1999). Additionally, Mack is the only player to log a forced fumble in each of the first four weeks of an NFL season.
Behind Mack, Chicago has kept opponents out of the end zone in 12 of 16 quarters this season and have shutout opponents in nine of those 16 quarters. Overall, the Bears rank first in the NFL with 18 sacks (4.5 per game), 109 sack yards and eight forced fumbles. Their eight interceptions are second behind the Dolphins (9) while their 64.0 yards allowed per game on the ground also are second best. They are tied for second with 14 three-and-outs, third in fewest first downs allowed per game (15.5) and fourth in fewest total yards allowed (294.5). They are one
one of only two teams in the NFL to not allow a rushing touchdown (Titans) and are one of three to not allow a rush of 20+ yards (Vikings, Redskins).