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'He's Still That Guy': Inside Khalil Mack's Historic 6-Sack Game

Mack FTP

Below are three takeaways from Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley, quarterback Justin Herbert, outside linebacker Khalil Mack and more following the Week 4 home win against the Raiders:

Mack's career day

During the week, Chargers outside linebacker Khalil Mack said his first sack of the season was "on the way."

That was an understatement.

Mack racked up 6.0 sacks — yes, 6.0 sacks — in the 24-17 win over the Raiders. He accounted for all but one sack the Chargers had Sunday, with the seventh being credited as a team sack.

"I tried to tell y'all," Mack said after the game with a smile. "It comes in bunches, but I had six. I'll take it."

Mack's 6.0 sacks are a career-high for a single game in his career so far and also a franchise record. It's also tied for second-most sacks in a single game in NFL history.

There's also something about Mack when he lines up against the Raiders.

In his Chargers career, Mack has 14 sacks — and 9.0 against the Raiders, where he started his NFL career and played four seasons.

"You can say it's something extra, but it is what it is," Mack said after the game about playing the team he was drafted by.

"I mean obviously you want to play good against your old team," Mack later added. "But just knowing where you come from and knowing that organization and what it meant to me to get drafted to that organization. It's a lot of respect, but it's a lot of wanting to get back too... At the end of the day, it's just another game."

It was a historic performance for Mack, as he also joined Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas as the only players with multiple games of at least 5.0 sacks since the stat began being tracked in 1982.

And even though the stats didn't show it, Chargers Head Coach Brandon Staley was not surprised at today's monster game, as he praised another "maestro performance" by a Charger for the second straight week.

"He had been [pass] rushing at a high level for three games," Staley said postgame. "We do this thing — he taught me back in Chicago, — close, he had been close the whole year, to having three monster games. He was close.

Staley continued: "Today, he put it all together. This guy is one of the best edge players of a generation and he is still that guy, he is still that guy — he just showed everybody, 'I'm still that guy.' He's one of our leaders.

"One of those maestro performances, similar to [WR] Keenan [Allen] last week," Staley added. "He's one of the elite players in the game. He always has been and he always will be as long as he is playing."

Still, not only did Mack pressure the quarterback at a high level in Week 4, he also flashed his ability to strip away the football, forcing two fumbles — one which was recovered by the Bolts defense and led to a touchdown drive by his offense.

Mack is the only player on an NFL roster to have at least 20 strip sacks since he came into the NFL in 2014.

The Chargers outside linebacker credited his big performance to the rest of the defense, from back to front, as they laid the groundwork for Mack to have a big day.

"I had time to get there," Mack said. "[Asante Samuel, Jr.], Mike [Davis], Ja [Taylor], those guys did their thing."

"Everybody working together," Mack later added. "Tuli [Tuipulotu], [Morgan] Fox, Chris [Rumph II], everybody knowing what we had to do being down Joey [Bosa] and Derwin [James, Jr.]."

Mack's historic performance in Week 4 is something that's rare and when a player like that gets in the zone, even his teammates can't help but marvel about it.

"He's about as good as it gets. I'm super thankful that he's on our team," quarterback Justin Herbert said. "I'm not surprised by it at all. We see it in practice every day. The way that he goes about it, he is a true professional. He's an incredible leader of our team, an incredible player. He is definitely one of those guys that is fun to watch out there."

"He was the [2018] Defensive Player of the Year," Sebastian Joseph-Day said about Mack. "Anything is possible for him. Huge game, man. He was doing his thing. He was in that zone. 6.0 sacks is unreal."

Tackle Trey Pipkins III added: "It's so much fun to watch… He's a great vet and it's always awesome to go out there and just wreck shop like that. That was a performance I had never seen before. 6.0 sacks is crazy. I've never seen anything like that."

Run defense key in victory

The Bolts run defense knew the task at hand coming into the week when it came to the Raiders ground game — and they stepped up in a big way.

Although the Raiders haven't had the best start on the ground this season, the threat of 2022 rushing leader Josh Jacobs remained. Stopping the run has been an emphasis for the defense all year, and they did just that on Sunday.

The Raiders rushed for just 76 yards on 23 carries, as the Raiders longest run was of 11 yards.

Staley praised the run defense's improvement from game to game, as it was a complete performance in all facets of the defense to secure the home victory.

"I thought Tuli, Chris, Andrew Farmer [II], on top of Khalil's big performance, I thought we did a really good job," Staley said. "Our D-line, they had 76 yards rushing on 23 carries.

"You can't say enough about the whole group and how we played because it was third-down defense, red zone defense, it was the takeaways," Staley added. "All of it was a very complete performance."

The Bolts defense felt good about the game plan coming in, as they attacked the run as a unit and swarmed the running back whenever he got the ball.

"I feel like we had a good game plan," linebacker Eric Kendricks said postgame. "It was about swarming and tackling. We let a couple get away from us and I know we want to do better. But we were swarming and communicating. It was a lot of fun."

Defensive tackle Sebastian Joseph-Day added: "We held them to 76 yards rushing. That was the rushing leader last year. Just an overall great team effort."

And while the defense does feel like they left a couple of plays on the table, they look forward to tidying it up as they head into the bye week looking to keep the improvement going.

"It was okay. I felt like it was a lot of extra stuff that we could have did better, especially when it came after the contact tackling [Jacobs]," Mack said. "But he's one of the best in the league. Credit to them, but at the end of the day that's something we have to get better at."

"It's a lot of things we have to do better," Mack later added. "Just going into the bye understanding what we have to do better. Play the run, work better on the back end together, and the front end. Just build from this."

Get an inside look at the postgame celebration from the Chargers 24-17 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

Davis provides jolt for offense

It was a good game to build on for a Chargers rushing offense that looked to get back on track heading into the week.

After a monster 233-yard performance in Week 1, the last two weeks saw them only run for 91 yards combined against a strong Tennessee front and a Minnesota defense that blitzed frequently.

The Bolts made it an emphasis this week to get rolling again on that front as they head into the bye week, rushing the ball 37 times for 155 yards and two touchdowns (both by Herbert).

"I thought those guys ran the ball really well today," Herbert said. "The inclusion of Derius [Davis], Josh Kelley, they fight. They fight for every yard and to have an offensive line like we do, you have to take advantage of the run game.

"Those guys are pushing up front. I thought it was really good to see the run game go today," Herbert added.

As Herbert alluded to, the involvement of Davis in the running game was a big part of the explosiveness, as the fourth-round rookie had his most involved role on the offense yet.

And he got it started with a bang taking a pitch from Herbert for 51 yards that propelled an opening-drive touchdown.

Davis credited his blockers for his big gain, as it took almost everyone to help let him get loose.

"Every time I get the ball I'm thinking about taking it to the house," Davis said about his long run. "But you know, I credit it to my blockers. They made a seam for me, I hit the seam, had a cutback lane and I just do what I do at the end."

Davis finished the afternoon with those 51 yards on the ground and a pair of quick catches for 16 yards through the air, as the rookie saw a lot of action and threatened the opposing defense with his speed.

"It feels good in getting involved, helping any way I could help out and make sure we secure a W," Davis said after the game. "Just to have the opportunity to go out there and help my team win, I don't take it for granted."

The Bolts offense liked what they saw on the ground in Week 4, but believe they could've done a little more in the second half, and will now head into the bye week looking to continue to build on their first four performances on the ground.

"I think we did some cool stuff on the perimeter, getting the ball on the edge with Derius and stuff like that," Pipkins said. "I want to watch the film, second half stuff, just to see where we stalled out a little bit and what we could have done better.

"It felt good in the first half and obviously, haven't watched the film to see what they did to adjust but we'll get on the film and make the adjustments," Pipkins added.

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