Khalil Mack was recognized on Thursday as the NFC Defensive Player of the Month following an outlandishly-dominant September in which he helped lift the Bears to being the best defense in the NFL.
Mack forced four fumbles, becoming the first player since Indianapolis’ Robert Mathis in 2005 to have a sack-strip in four consecutive games. His five sacks rank only behind Dallas’ Demarcus Lawrence (who has 5 1/2), and his 24 pressures rank third behind Cincinnati’s Geno Atkins (26) and Los Angeles’ Aaron Donald (28). Mack also has a pick-six and has been one of the NFL’s better run defenders, too.
Beyond his personal stats, Mack has had a tremendous impact on the rest of the Bears’ defense, which ranks No. 1 in DVOA after four weeks and enters the off week having suffocated a previously-explosive Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ offense in Sunday’s 48-10 win.
“The consistency of his demeanor each and every day, each and every moment that he’s on the field, that he’s in a meeting, game or practice — you’re getting the same guy each and every day,” outside linebackers coach Brandon Staley said. “No matter what the situation is – the highest of highs like in Green Bay or the lowest of low like maybe the first half of the Arizona game – same guy. That gives incredible confidence to his teammates, to his coaches. I use the phrase ‘Calm is contagious.’ I think that really impacts all of us in a real positive way.”
This is the second time Mack has been named a conference’s defensive player of the month, as he won AFC Defensive Player of the Month with the Oakland Raiders in November 2016. He’s the first Bears player to be named defensive player of the month since Charles Tillman was in October 2012. Other Bears to win defensive player of the month: Tim Jennings (September 2012), Julius Peppers (November 2010, November 2011), Brian Urlacher (December 2010), Trace Armstrong (September 1990) and Wilber Marshall (December 1986).