Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack made history last season when he was named All-Pro first team at two positions (outside linebacker and defensive end), becoming the first player to do so.
The third-year defensive standout has done nothing but make plays since being drafted by the Raiders fifth-overall in 2014 and is having another stellar season this year. Coming into Sunday's night game, Mack had been one of the Raiders best defensive players, tallying 32 tackles, eight sacks and two forced fumbles in the team's 10 games.
Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers was no different, as Mack once again took over the game when it mattered most.
His first big play came with the first half winding down, when Mack used his instincts to drop back on a screen play and intercept Panthers quarterback Cam Newton's screen pass and take it back six yards into the end zone for the pick-six, giving the Raiders the 24-to-7 lead at halftime.
"[That] was instincts and seeing, knowing the things that were going to happen based on the film that you watched," Mack said after the game. "Instincts and getting my hands up and getting ready to catch."
Then with the Raiders defense on the field looking to stop Newton from stealing the game away with a game-winning drive, Mack came up big again. On fourth down, the defensive playmaker beat the Panthers offensive lineman to get into the backfield and strip the ball from Newton, and even falling on the ball to recover the fumble. With the play, Mack secured a place in the history book alongside a familiar face: future Hall of Famer and former teammate Charles Woodson.
With his interception, sack, forced fumble, fumble recovery and touchdown he is the first place since Woodson to accomplish the impressive feat, company the third-year defensive playmaker was proud to learn about.
"That's great company right there," Mack said when told about the feat. "C-Wood, that's big bro. We talk all the time. He tells me, 'It's time for you to take over games.' Fortunately, I was in a position to do a little bit of that today."
Bruce Irvin, who plays opposite of Mack a lot, has been just as impressed with the play of the third-year player.
"Pick-six, sack forced fumble, fumble recovery... I'm just blessed to be in his presence," Irvin said after the game. "The guy is one hell of a player. We feed of each other. On that last drive we told each other 'It's on us, it's on us to put the team on our back and end it.' That's exactly what we did. I'm just blessed to be in such a great situation playing with a future Hall of Famer."