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5 Takeaways: Khalil Mack Hits Massive Milestone With 100th Career Sack


The Chargers are 5-11 after Sunday's loss in Denver.

Here are five takeaways from Week 17:

1. Mack gets his milestone

Khalil Mack has reached triple-digit sacks.

The Chargers outside linebacker reached 100 career sacks Sunday when be brought down Broncos quarterback Jarrett Stidham in the first half.

"It was dope," Mack said. "But I was focused on trying to get the win.

"Definitely a significant moment in my career but bittersweet because I wanted to win that game," Mack added.

Mack began the play by getting chipped by tight end Lucas Krull but wiggled free as he raced toward left guard Ben Powers. The lineman was no match for Mack, who powered Powers into Stidham and caused the quarterback to fall to the ground. Mack ran over to tap Stidham down just for good measure.

When he did, rookie Tuli Tuipulotu was waiting with a special celebration as he placed an imaginary crown on Mack's head.

"Yeah, I've been waiting to do that for him," Tuipulotu said. "I knew he was close to 100, I knew he just needed one more.

"I saved that for him whenever he hit it. It's a blessing to witness that stuff," Tuipulotu added. "Proud of him."

Chargers Interim Head Coach Giff Smith, who has been Mack's position coach the past two seasons, reflected on Mack's milestone.

"Just think about that, what an incredible number," Smith said. "You're hunting it for a few weeks and it's tough. It seems like that's always the hardest one to get. So excited for him and his family. Grateful to be apart of it."

Smith later added: "I would put it like pre-steroid era in baseball, the 500 home runs. It's a landmark number. You start doing the basic math, you're like, 'That's crazy'. It's a crazy number, I don't know when I got in coaching that I ever thought I'd be apart of something."

That sack also gave Mack 16.0 on the season, which set a new career-best for the 32-year old. Mack also became just the third player 32 or older to reach 16.0 sacks in NFL history.

Mack, who accomplished the feat in his 150th career game, became the fifth active player and 43rd overall to reach 100.0 career sacks.

Mack, who had been stuck on 99.5 career sacks for a few weeks, said he was just glad to get the proverbial monkey off his back.

"Yeah, it's definitely a little weight off just understanding you want to hit that milestone," Mack said. "Ultimately, you want to win the ball game so it can feel extra good afterwards.

"The fact we didn't get it done is bittersweet, but my wife waiting for me at the crib, probably going to have some balloons or something and all that," Mack added. "But I'm a team guy so it's definitely bittersweet."

Smith said Mack's accomplishment of setting a single-season mark shouldn't go unnoticed given how the 32-year-old pushed himself this past offseason.

"He played probably not 100 percent last year and to work like he did at the age and the stuff he's accomplished, incredible," Smith said. "The sacks, you know are cool and all that but the way he plays the run, the amount of snaps he's having to play since Joey [Bosa] has been out and the willingness to give everything for this team speaks volumes."

As his quotes allude to above, Mack was humble when speaking with reporters in the postgame locker room.

But after he had departed, a pair of his teammates reflected on just how awesome his milestone was.

"He's a legend," Eric Kendricks said. "Wish we got the win for him, I know that's what he's upset about right now. That's all he wants, we wish we could've got that for him with the 100 career sacks.

"But it's not to take away from the season he's had, the teammate he's been," Kendricks added. "He's been solid as a rock, consistent as ever. We all know what kind of player he is in this league."

Tuipulotu added: "He's a guy everybody wants to be eventually in the league."

2. Dicker adds to franchise record

Cameron Dicker's incredible season rolled along Sunday in Denver.

Especially from long distance.

Dicker nailed a pair of 50-plus yard kicks in Week 17, giving him six total makes from 50-plus this season. He simply kept adding to his single-season mark as he broke the record of four — held by Nick Novak (2011) and Josh Lambo (2015) — last week against Buffalo.

"I really just think it's his mindset and his approach each and every day," said long snapper Josh Harris. "Practice, games, doesn't matter. Very resilient, whatever happens from one rep to the next he does a really good job just flushing it and getting to the next play.

"That's really important in any phase, offense, defense or special teams," Harris added. "Especially in the kicking game, you get that one play and then you got to get back to the sideline and wait for your next opportunity."

Dicker almost had three makes of 50-plus yards Sunday but had a 50-yard try blocked in the second half. He simply responded by nailing a 52-yard kick.

"He does a really great job of, 'Hey, that happened, onto the next one,'" Harris said. "Then go out there and he attacks each and every one of them. He's done an incredible job and he's earned every bit of that, just the work he puts in."

Dicker is now 27 of 29 on field goals this season.

Browse through live action photos of the Bolts Week 17 matchup against the Broncos at Mile High

3. McFadden makes 1st start

Jordan McFadden was feeling the emotions Sunday afternoon before his first NFL start.

"A little bit of butterflies because you want to play well for the organization, the guys in this locker room," McFadden said. "Definitely a little bit of butterflies.

"But after you get out there, at the end of the day it's just football," McFadden added. "That's what I reminded myself every time before I took the field. It's football, just do what you do. Definitely butterflies but settled in for sure."

The Chargers fifth-round rookie stepped in at left guard Sunday in place of Zion Johnson, who sustained a neck injury in the weight room earlier in the week and was inactive.

McFadden played every offensive snap and wasn't whistled for any penalties.

"When you don't hear a guy on the offensive line, it's a good thing. He did well," Smith said. "I think he proved he's an NFL player and obviously a good draft for us so we're excited about him. Hopefully we get Zion back but definitely with McFadden moving forward, we're really pleased."

McFadden was a standout tackle at Clemson but has worked at multiple spots since joining the Bolts. He's also lined up at fullback or as an extra blocker in jumbo sets.

"Definitely challenging," McFadden said. "At guard, everything happens a little bit faster than at tackle.

"Especially early in training camp, getting used to that was big for me," McFadden added. "Once again, I had Zion and Jamaree [Salyer] to kind of help me, talk about things with me, so that was really helpful. I appreciate them for that for sure."

4. Erickson a bright spot on offense

A note of appreciation for Alex Erickson here.

The Chargers entered Sunday without their top three wide receivers on the preseason depth chart.

Keenan Allen (heel) and Joshua Palmer (concussion) were inactive, and Mike Williams suffered a season-ending torn ACL in Week 3.

With the Bolts depleted at the position, Erickson stepped up in a big way against Denver with seven catches for 98 yards.

Both Erickson's catch and yardage totals were the second-highest marks of his career.

"Alex is a really good player and I'm really grateful we have him," Easton Stick said. "A veteran in that room I think is really good right now. Obviously with the injuries that we have, he's kind of like that stabilizing, calming force, he can fix a lot of things and he's seen a lot of football."

Stick also praised Erickson, who entered the NFL in 2016, for helping out the Bolts young receivers such as Quentin Johnston, Keelan Doss and Derius Davis.

"I think he's really good for Q, Keelan today, DD, all these guys that are getting opportunity stabilizing things. He's a good player, so he made plays," Stick said.

5. The 2024 opponents are set

The Bolts now know their complete set of 2024 opponents.

While Sunday's loss dropped the Chargers to 5-11 on the season, it also ensured the Bolts will finish in last place in the AFC West.

The Chargers full list of 2024 opponents can be found here*.*

Besides the usual six total home and away games against AFC West foes, the Chargers will also square off against the AFC North and NFC South.

The Chargers final three opponents for 2024 are teams who will also finish in last place in their respective divisions.

This means a home game against the Titans and road games against the Patriots and Cardinals.

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