Bears’ pass rush falls flat again in loss to Lions; Khalil Mack finishes with no stats

The Bears committed $44.5 million in salary-cap space to Mack, Akiem Hicks and Robert Quinn, thinking they’d be the nucleus of the NFL’s best pass rush. Not even close.

SHARE Bears’ pass rush falls flat again in loss to Lions; Khalil Mack finishes with no stats

Mack is still stuck on 6.5 sacks after one was negated by penalty against the Lions.


Bears general manager Ryan Pace’s entire blueprint for this season started with assembling a world-class pass rush with $27 million star Khalil Mack at the center of it.

It has been a colossal flop.

The Bears went into Sunday ranked 20th in sacks and managed just two in their 34-30 loss to the Lions despite Matthew Stafford dropping back 44 times because they were trailing most of the afternoon.

“A lot of those you go back and you watch and you say, ‘OK, are we winning our one-on-one battles?’” coach Matt Nagy said. “Because teams are going to scheme, they’re going to have stuff with Khalil and [defensive tackle Akiem Hicks], where they’re making different protection shifts to help guys out.

“If they’re not winning their one-on-ones, why is it? And then do we need to create some or manipulate some with fire zones and blitzes, cover zero and stuff like that?”

Aside from sacks by defensive tackle Bilal Nichols and backup outside linebacker Barkevious Mingo, the Bears’ lone quarterback hit came from Roquan Smith.

Mack appeared to sack Stafford in the second quarter, but it was negated by cornerback Buster Skrine committing an illegal-contact penalty in coverage.

Mack, the fourth-most expensive player in the NFL this season, finished the game with no statistics and no comments. He did not speak to the media. Nichols was the only defensive player who did.

Mack leads the team with 6.5 sacks, which ranked 15th (behind former Bear Leonard Floyd) going into Sunday, and is on track to finish in single digits for the second season in a row. Hicks is next with 3.5, Nichols has three and no one else has more than two.

Former all-pro Robert Quinn, who signed a five-year, $70 million deal as a free agent this year, has one in 408 snaps.

Mack, Hicks and Quinn count for a combined $44.5 million in salary-cap hits and account for more than one-fourth of the Bears’ payroll.

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