GLENDALE, Ariz. – Cornerback Sherrick McManis is the Bears’ best player on special teams. That was apparent again when he impressively stopped Cardinals receiver Christian Kirk for no gain on his punt return early in third quarter.
“That’s me, what’s I do,” McManis said. “I’m a special-teams player. I’m proud of it. I take big pride in it.”
He has much more to be proud of, though, after the Bears’ come-from-behind 16-14 win against the Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on Sunday. McManis, the longest-tenured Bears player,proved to be more than a mere special-teamer during a dominant day for the Bears’ defense in the desert.
In the third quarter, McManis made a diving interception on quarterback Sam Bradford. With the Bears fielding six defensive backs, he read Bradford and quickly cut in front of his throw to receiver Chad Williams. Bradford was replaced by first-round pick Josh Rosen in the fourth quarter after outside linebacker Khalil Mack sacked him and forced a fumble.
“I felt like we needed a spark,” Arizona coach Steve Wilks said. “We got off to an early start, [scored] 14 points, got a little stagnant there, and I wanted to try to spark the team.”
McManis helped snuff out that spark, too.
On the game’s final play, McManis sacked Rosen on a blitz to prevent his Hail Mary attempt. Defensive coordinator Vic Fangio has featured McManis on designed pressures since last season.
“When I’m out there on defense, I take pride in it to execute and do my job,” McManis said.
He did that against the Cardinals. Plenty of the Bears’ defensive players did.
“We had a game where we figured out how to win at the end,” McManis said. “That’s always a positive. We’ve got a lot of growth to do as units, as a defense, offense and special teams. But it’s always better to learn and win.
“That’s where the gratification comes in.”