The rookie linebacker continues to make a strong case for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors week in and week out.
His most recent bullet point on his application came on Sunday when the Raiders defeated the Buffalo Bills 26-24, ending their playoff aspirations. Much like it has gone this season, the young linebacker’s box score numbers don’t jump at you, but they don’t tell the full story.
Mack finished the game with five tackles, three quarterback hits, one sack and one tackle for a loss. On top of that, Mack was a force to be reckoned with against the Bills’ offensive line, applying pressure on quarterback Kyle Orton numerous times, forcing him into bad throws.
“Yeah, he was getting rid of it. He was getting rid of it. That’s the thing, that’s my job. I try to put pressure on the quarterback and get off the field,” Mack said after the game.
Mack used a variety of pass-rushing moves, not just his bull rush that we have been so accustomed to see. His versatility kept the Bills offensive line guessing.
“I thought Khalil guessing, I thought, in the beginning part of the game,” interim head coach Tony Sparano said. “He’s been getting better and better every single week. He’s got a lot of gas in his tank, the kid does. I thought early in the game he was around him, he was hitting them, and doing a bunch of those things.”
This has become normal for his teammates to see, including veteran Charles Woodson who has 17 years in the league and has seen a lot.
“I mean, if you guys watch film on this guy the way we do each and every week, he jumps out on film every week,” Woodson said after the game. “To us, it’s no surprise what he’s doing out there. But we know the other team, whether it’s the quarterback or whether it’s the tackle or the tight end trying to take him on, they feel him. That’s every week. That’s every play, man. This guy is going to be something special.”