The Bears will be without their best defensive player for the rest of the 2021 campaign.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapaport reported on Friday that linebacker Khalil Mack is set to undergo season-ending foot surgery after the team placed him on injured reserve.
Sources: The #Bears are placing All-Pro pass-rusher Khalil Mack on Injured Reserve to have season-ending foot surgery.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) November 19, 2021
Following the placement of both Mack and linebacker Danny Trevathan on injured reserve, who will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, linebacker Cassius Marsh was moved up to the active roster.
Mack had missed the previous two games with the injury after getting off to a fast start to the 2021 season. In his first seven games, he had tallied 19 combined tackles — 15 solo, four assisted — with six sacks. During those games, the Bears allowed a season-high 467 yards to the 49ers in a 33-22 loss and 280 yards in a 29-27 loss to the Steelers.
The pass-rush experienced a noticeable drop in its ProFootballFocus grade, as it posted grades of 52.1 against the 49ers and 61.7 against the Steelers, the lowest and third-lowest grades of the season. Even having missed those two games, Mack remains second on the team with six sacks and with his seven QB hits.
Trevis Gibson has seen a spike in his snap count over the most recent three games, and should play a big role in filling the gap left by Mack. After posting just 18 snaps in Week 6, Gibson tallied 54 in Week 7, 45 in Week 8 and 40 in Week 9, according to ProFootballFocus.
According to ProFootballFocus, Mack received a 74 grade as a pass-rusher and a 73.5 grade overall.
Mack’s injury will hold him to the fewest games played in a season in his career. In his first three seasons with the Bears, he had missed only two games, both coming in 2018, and he had played in all 64 with the Raiders during his tenure in Oakland.
The Bears will head into several matchups that figure to test their defense. They face the Ravens, who are tied with the eighth-most yards per play at 5.9, in Week 11 and face the Cardinals, also tied with the Ravens at 5.9, in Week 13, with a matchup against the Lions separating the top two offenses.