COSTA MESA, Calif. — Khalil Mack was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his performance against his former team, the Las Vegas Raiders, last Sunday.
Mack had ten tackles, nine pressures, six sacks, five tackles for loss, four quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, and one pass defended.
“I tried to tell y’all,” Mack said after the game. “It comes in bunches, but I had six. I’ll take it.”
He was all over Raiders rookie quarterback Aidan O’Connell. Some of the sacks came on third down, while one in particular came in the second quarter when Mack drove Kolton Miller right into the rookie quarterback, which made him fumble. It was recovered by the Chargers and turned into a Justin Herbert touchdown run.
“Today, he put it all together,” head coach Brandon Staley said. “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.”
Staley called his a “maestro” performance.
Mack has sacked the opposing quarterback 14 times since he has been a Charger, with nine of those coming against the team that drafted him fifth overall in 2014.
“I mean, obviously, you want to play good against your old team,” Mack explained. “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.”
Joey Bosa couldn’t play last Sunday, but Mack feasted enough for the whole unit as the Chargers have moved into first in the NFL in sacks.
If Mack, Tuli Tuipulotu and Bosa can keep this going the rest of the season, there is no doubt the defense will improve. For Mack, though, this shows he isn’t quite over the hill as many believed.
“It’s a blessing and very humbling. I can’t put it any other way,” Mack said.