It’s early, but the initial returns on the Chicago Bears’ blockbuster summer trade are promising.
Khalil Mack, acquired from the Oakland Raiders a little more than a week ago, terrorized the Green Bay Packers in his Bears debut Sunday night.
The former NFL defensive player of the year wreaked havoc from the edge with his relentless pressure as the Bears defense held the Packers scoreless throughout the first half. Mack also forced two massive turnovers that kept momentum heavily in favor of the Bears, especially as the Packers’ first-half focus remained on the health of Aaron Rodgers after a scare. Rodgers returned in the second half and directed a huge comeback en route to an improbable 24-23 Packers win, but the first half was all about the Bears’ new defensive star.
Up 10-0 with just over three minutes remaining in the first half and the Packers threatening, Mack bulldozed his way toward Deshone Kizer, forcing a pivotal strip sack in the process. Later in the half, with the Bears still up 10-0, Mack snagged a sloppy pass from Kizer and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown.
Tired of consecutive downtrodden seasons, the Bears invested heavily in Mack, making him the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. Was it worth two future first round picks? It certainly looks like the Bears made the right gamble.
The Bears were already a top-10 defense last season and adding Mack, along with first-round pick Roquan Smith, gives them an identity as they continue to develop franchise cornerstone QB Mitchell Trubisky.
Follow USA TODAY Sports’ Michael Singer on Twitter @msinger.
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