Khalil Mack is reportedly heading to the Chicago Bears in what could be a monster deal involving multiple first round draft picks. With this news, the Steelers would no longer be facing Mack on December 9, when the Steelers play the Oakland Raiders, nor any other time during the 2018 regular season. There were several teams interested in trading for Mack, one of which was reportedly the Browns, but instead of Mack going to the AFC North, he is headed to the NFC North. A division the Steelers will not face again in the regular season until 2021.
Some Steelers fans are breathing a sigh of relief knowing such a dominant player will not be lining up against them anytime soon, but Mack’s previous outing vs. the black-and-gold he did not fare well against the Steelers, specifically right tackle Marcus Gilbert.
In 2015, the Steelers faced the Raiders in Week 9 of the season at Heinz Field, and there were more than a few notable performances in that game. Ben Roethlisberger was injured late and Landry Jones led a game-winning drive to kick a short field goal with 0:02 seconds left in the 4th quarter. This was also the game where Antonio Brown had 284 yards on 17 receptions.
Final Score: Steelers 38 Raiders 35.
What is missing from most people’s recollection of the game is the stat line of one Khalil Mack. Why? Because Mack did not register a single stat for the entire game.
If looking at only the box score, one would think Mack did not even play in the game — but he did. 69 out of 85 defensive snaps along, with 8 snaps on special teams, to be exact.
For anyone paying close attention, and I was actually in attendance for this game, they could see how Marcus Gilbert gave a pro bowl caliber performance against Mack. This came in a year where Mack set a record for being elected to two different positions for the Pro Bowl. But on November 9, 2015, it was Marcus Gilbert that dominated the matchup.
So, if the news of Mack going to the Bears is true, breathe a sigh of relief knowing a premiere pass rusher won’t even be a potential problem for the Steelers this season, but I highly doubt Marcus Gilbert was worried either way. Been there, done that.