"You Live For These Types of Games" Says Khalil Mack, Who Is Hungry as Heck to Win

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“You Live For These Types of Games” Says Khalil Mack, Who Is Hungry as Heck to Win

Chicago Bears

Big-game players make big-time plays and Khalil Mack certainly fits the bill as a big-game player who has a highlight reel full of game-changing performances in his first season with the Chicago Bears.

Mack, who was acquired one day after the Bears completed their preseason, finished with 12.5 sacks, 18 quarterback hits, 10 tackles-for-loss, 6 forced fumbles, two recoveries, and a pick-six in 14 games. Not bad for a guy who didn’t participate in any team offseason training activities, set foot in training camp, or play preseason games. But it’s what Mack has done when the lights have been the brightest that captures your imagination.

The Bears played four primetime games (three Sunday night contests and an appearance on Monday Night Football) and Mack has made his presence known in each. In these four games, Mack has put up the following stat line:

  • 4 sacks
  • 10 tackles
  • 2 tackles-for-loss
  • 3 QB Hits
  • 4 forced fumbles
  • 2 recoveries of fumbles he forced
  • 1 interception return touchdown

With that as our back-drop, you can understand why Mack is geeked up for this game. Just listen to the man speak about it.

Mack has definitely played like someone who lives for these types of moments and games.

Those are the words of a player who is hungry to step onto the field of a big game. Mack hasn’t played in a postseason game since the 2016 season, which ended in a loss – in part – because the Oakland Raiders were without their top two quarterback options. It wasn’t as if Mack shied away from the challenge, coming up with eight tackles and two tackles-for-loss in the defeat. It’s a stat line like that (despite not having any QB Hits or sacks) that has me geared up to see No. 52 in navy-and-orange in action on Sunday.

There have been times this season when we have talked about losses as teachable moments. A good chunk of Bears players don’t have postseason defeats to learn from, but a player like Mack who has grown into a leadership role in his first year in Chicago can be someone younger players can look to and lean on. In fact, I’d venture to go as far to suggest that Mack’s prior experience can be a motivating for him and his teammates.

This is the time of year when everyone is looking for a rallying cry, and I think Mack could certainly conjure one up.

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Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.