If Khalil Mack is going to get snubbed for the NFC's top defensive honor for a second consecutive week, at least it's another great story.
In Sunday's road win over the Arizona Cardinals, Mack played every snap, recording two sacks — including his third consecutive game with a strip-sack — and one additional QB hit. The timing of Mack's big plays once again were notable: the first sack was of the sudden-change variety, coming on third-and-8 on the series following Mitch Trubisky's second giveaway of the first half, and his strip-sack came early in the fourth quarter just outside the red zone with the Cardinals immediately looking to respond on the heels of Chicago trimming its deficit to one point.
Nonetheless, NFC Defensive Player of Week 3 went to Carolina Panthers DE Efe Obada, who notched an interception, sack, two QB hurries and a pass defensed in the 31-21 victory over the Cincinnati Bengals. It was a heck of a performance, enhanced by the fact that it was the first-ever game for Obada, the first player from the NFL's International Pathway Program to make an active roster.
Obada arrived from London in 2015 and was signed to the Dallas Cowboys practice squad despite only playing organized American football for five games with the London Warriors.
Back to the Bears, recall that Mack's worthy Week 2 performance in the win over the Seattle Seahawks was overlooked for his own teammate, Danny Trevathan, who earned the awarded for his first multi-sack game in the NFL. Mack was undoubtedly a dominant force vs. Russell Wilson and Co., logging a strip-sack among his five tackles, but Trevathan finished with a team-high 8 tackles and two sacks — including the strip-sack that thwarted Seattle's last-gasp rally.
Of course, Mack and the NFC North-leading Bears have their sights set on bigger accolades anyway. Their new prized linebacker leads the NFL in forced fumbles (3) and is tied for the league lead with four sacks, making him the early favorite for his second Defensive Player of the Year award. Heck, if Mack continues not only filling the stat sheet but making game-changing plays while the Bears continue their worst-to-first ascent, becoming the NFL's first defender since Lawrence Taylor in 1986 to take home MVP honors certainly shouldn't be discounted.
As for the rest of the NFL's Week 3 hardware, the offensive players of the week are Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees; the defensive players of the week are Obada and Buffalo Bills LB Matthew Milano; and the special teamers are Baltimore Ravens PK Justin Tucker and Los Angeles Rams LB Blake Countess.