Khalil Mack Delivers Historic Performance In Win Over Denver Broncos

After 30 minutes of Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders defensive end Khalil Mack hadn't yet found his name on the stat sheet, but after halftime, the second-year defensive end put together the most impressive half of his young career.

It began in the third quarter with Mack sacking Broncos quarterback Brock Osweiler for a loss of 10, and from there it snowballed into a flurry of bull rushes, spin moves and total defensive dominance.

When the clocks read 0:00 in Denver, the Raiders had defeated the Broncos 15-12, and Mack had tied the franchise record with five sacks in a game, a record long held by Hall of Famer Howie Long.

"I'm trying to get better every week," said Mack at his postgame press conference. "What you see statistically, it doesn't really determine whether you think is better or not, but at the same time, I'm going to keep working to get better."

While the soft-spoken Mack wasn't willing to brag about his performance postgame, his teammates certainly lent their two cents about Mack's historic day in Denver.

"That man had five sacks today," defensive tackle Dan Williams said. "The way he's been playing, and the way he's been fighting through and just kept pushing; we did our job today. Khalil showed why he's Khalil Mack."

The former first-round draft pick lived up to the billing and more Sunday afternoon, even earning a playful jab from quarterback Derek Carr who said, "[I'm] glad they picked him first."

At the end of the game, Mack delivered a final stat line that looked like some players' season totals, securing 5 sacks, tallying 7 total tackles, 5 tackles for loss, 7 quarterback hits and 1 forced fumble.

Oh, and now he leads the NFL with 14 total sacks to boot, ranking ahead of players like J.J. Watt, Ziggy Ansah and Von Miller.

"He was unbelievable," Head Coach Jack Del Rio. "He's just getting better and better, and he's a great young man. I didn't realize he actually had five sacks on the day. I knew he was awesome. I knew he made a big play for the safety, and I knew he went back there. I thought three, maybe four, but I didn't realize it was five, so really tremendous effort by Khalil."

The University of Buffalo-product served as a one-man wrecking crew against the Broncos, routinely casting aside Broncos right tackle Michael Schofield and single-handedly disrupting the Denver offense.

Mack was locked in at Mile High and put together the type of performance he was heralded for throughout his college career, and when the powerful defensive end gets rolling, even members of his own team have to pause to take notice.

"I know Khalil's a beast and he's going to make it happen," wide receiver Seth Roberts said. "Not one guy can guard him, not two guys can guard him, you have to triple team him, and he'll probably get through that too."

And after his performance Sunday, it would be hard to dispute Roberts' proclamation.

In the past three weeks, Mack has totaled nine sacks and is arguably one of the hottest players lining up on the defensive side of the football, and as a result, expectations are understandably high for him headed into the last three games of the regular season.

"This is what he's supposed to do, and now Khalil has set the bar high. If he gets anything less than five sacks, he's going to hear from me," Williams joked.

Added safety Charles Woodson, "For a young guy like him that's just really kind of coming into his own, you just see flashes of what he's going to be. If this guy, throughout his career, stays healthy, man, the sky is the limit to what he's going to be able to accomplish in this league."

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