GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Early in the third quarter, backup CB Sherrick McManis flew down the field, collected himself and buried Cardinals PR Christian Kirk for no gain at his own 15-yard line, just as he fielded a Pat O’Donnell punt.
But that’s nothing out of the ordinary for the nine-year veteran McManis, who is in his seventh year with the Bears as one of their core special-teams players. He was just getting warmed up, though.
Late in the third quarter, McManis got his first interception since his rookie season of 2010, when he was with the Texans. His diving grab set up Cody Parkey’s 41-yard field goal that brought the Bears to within 14-13. Then, McManis closed out the game and the 16-14 victory with the first sack of his career, dropping rookie QB Josh Rosen for a seven-yard loss.
“It was a great call,” the humble and soft-spoken Northwestern product said. “The coaches did an awesome job of putting us in the right places, and we did a good job executing.”
McManis did take exception when it was suggested he has been “pigeon-holed” as a special-teams player.
“I take pride in special teams,” he said. “I don’t look at it as a down thing. That’s me; that’s what I do. I’m a special-teams player. I’m proud of it, and I take big pride in it. And, when I’m out there on defense, I take pride in it to execute and do my job.”
Another Mack Attack
Coach Matt Nagy tried to restrain himself when asked his sideline reaction to watching OLB Khalil Mack’s undeniable contributions to the defense in Sunday’s 16-14 victory over the Cardinals.
“It’s fun,” Nagy said. “I’m glad he’s on our team. That’s being about as calm as I can possibly be, and he’s making everybody else on that defense better, and Khalil’s gonna be the first one to tell you that it’s about those 10 other guys as well. Those guys collectively; it’s across the board. They’re playing fast right now, they’re trusting each other, and they do it in practice, so when it transfers over to the game, it doesn’t surprise you.”
Mack had two more sacks, giving him four in three games with his new team. One of the sacks caused a fumble and snuffed out a scoring chance after the Cardinals reached the Bears’ 21-yard line early in the fourth quarter. He has forced a fumble in all three games and has a 27-yard interception return for a TD.
“He’s Khalil Mack, man,” ILB Danny Trevathan said. He just goes out there and plays ball, trying to affect the play as much as he can. You have to keep attention on him when he’s out there. If you don’t, he’s going to make you pay the price, as we’ve seen the last 23 days since he’s been here. Great player, happy to have him on our side, works his tail off, and he’s cool dude off the field. He’s a brother with us.”
Toliver moves up
Six of the Bears’ seven inactives Sunday were the same as last week: S DeAndre Houston-Carson (forearm), OLBs Kylie Fitts and Isaiah Irving, OL Rashaad Coward, WR Javon Wims and DL Nick Williams.
The new addition to the inactive list was backup CB Marcus Cooper (hamstring), who did not practice this week. Undrafted rookie Kevin Toliver moved up on the depth chart in his absence, and was pressed into service on the outside when starting CB Prince Amukamara suffered a hamstring injury in the second half and didn’t return.
Toliver flashed his play-making abilities early in camp before his play leveled off, but he showed enough potential to make the initial 53-man roster. The 6-foot-2, 192-pound LSU product flashed early in his career at Baton Rouge but battled injuries in his final two seasons, dropping his draft stock.
“He's continued to get opportunities,” coach Matt Nagy said. “He had some shots there in training camp, and then he had a couple injuries back and forth, and he made it through that. He's done well. He's a young kid who's very talented, and I think he's starting each day to learn more and more about the system. He has nice size, he's confident and he comes from a big program.”