Mack Superlatives And Value to the Raiders Defense
Mack played in all 16 games this season and set the tone on a defense devoid of it. That is to say Mack led a very poor defense that without him would have likely ranked at the very bottom of the league.
Mack has been a slow starter through three season, and the Raiders defense got off to a similarly slow start. Oakland’s defense became the first since 1967 (according to Pro Football Reference) to allow 500 yards in two straight games, allowing the most total yards (1,035) after the first two games of a season since 1940. The team’s 354.7 yards per game from Week 3 onward, were they extrapolated across the entire season and compared to other teams 16-game totals, would have ranked 18th.
Starting in Week 3, Oakland reeled off a string of nine wins in ten games. The next week, Mack began a run of 11 sacks in 10 games. In his lone game of that run without a sack, a home victory of the San Diego Chargers, Mack recorded two tackles for loss.
Khalil recorded at least one sack in eight straight games from Week 6 through Week 14. Only three players in NFL history have had a longer streak of games with at least one sack, and no player has a longer streak in at least the past 23 seasons.
Mack forced five fumbles this season, which was only topped by two other players. His bookend, Bruce Irvin, tied to lead the league with six, which only serves to enhance how apparent Mack’s impact on opponent’s offensive line protection is. Mack drew the best of an opponent’s pass and run protection, freeing up Irvin to feast on their worst. The defending two-time All-Pro also recovered three fumbles this season, a feat only surpassed by two other players.
Mack was one of only seven non-secondary players this year to record a pick-six with his Week 12 interception of Cam Newton that he returned for a touchdown.
Additionally, Mack put two consecutive Raider-victories on ice with strip-sack-recoveries very late in games against the Panthers in Week 12 and the Bills in Week 13.