Oakland Raiders second-year linebacker Khalil Mack was unstoppable in the Raiders' 15-12 victory over Denver Broncos

Oakland Raiders second-year linebacker Khalil Mack was unstoppable in the Raiders' 15-12 victory over Denver Broncos

The Oakland Raiders selected linebacker Khalil Mack fifth-overall in the 2014 NFL Draft to be a defensive playmaker, and that's exactly what he has become for Jack Del Rio's defense. 

The second-year linebacker has been on a tear as of late, after finishing his rookie year with just 4.0 sacks for the season. This year, it took Mack just half the season to surpass that number and had nine sacks entering Sunday's matchup with the Denver Broncos. 

With the Raiders offense struggling for much of the day, Mack put the defense on his back and came out of Denver with five sacks in the game, giving him 14.0 on the season now. 

The five sacks on the day ties the Raiders franchise record for most sacks in a game, set by Hall of Fame defensive end Howie Long in 1983 against the Washington Redskins, according to Josh Dubow of Associated Press.

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Many of Mack's sacks came at crucial moments in the game, including a third down when Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler was in his end zone as the young linebacker got around right tackle Michael Schofield and used his left hand to grab Osweiler and knock the ball away, forcing a safety for the Raiders defense.

The former University of Buffalo star also recorded two more sacks on the final drive as the Broncos tried to drive late for the game-tying score. 

Mack's ability to get to the quarterback changed the game for the Raiders, allowing defensive coordinator Ken Norton, Jr. to rush with just four defenders, giving him more men in the secondary to cover wide receivers. 

Immediately following the game, Mack's 14.0 sacks this year led the NFL, though J.J. Watt has 13.5 and plays Sunday night against the New England Patriots.

Mack will only continue to improve as a defensive playmaker as his pass-rushing moves develop, something we've already seen happen a decent amount over just two seasons.


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