The race for the Defensive Rookie of the Year has yet to be decided. Khalil Mack is a frontrunner and his performance in these final two weeks stood to go a long way to helping his cause. As far on-field statements go, he made a loud one today.
It didn't take long either. He stuff the Bills first play of the day for no gain on a run. In total he had 5 combined tackles, one of which was a tackle for loss.
And that was just in the run game.
Mack was all over the place in this game. He was constantly pressuring Bills quarterback Kyle Orton and sacked him once in the game.
Early on Orton was making a concerted effort to get the ball away knowing the Mack was coming for him.
"He was getting rid of it," said Mack. "But that's my job, try to put pressure on the quarterback, get off the field."
It didn't matter much that Orton was getting the ball away, because even without the sacks early on, Mack was making an impact. One of the biggest plays early in the game was an interception by Charles Woodson. That interception came when Orton got rid of the ball to avoid getting destroyed by Mack who was bearing down on him from on the left side.
Charles Woodson was nearby and made the play to pick off the pass. A turnover beats a sack any day.
In total, Mack had three hits on Orton in the game. And the first third down for the Bills in the second half was when Mack got more than a hit on him, he sacked him for a 10-yard loss.
This doesn't exactly come out of nowhere for Mack. He had three sacks in the previous five games and now has four on the season.
You see anything on film you might have a big game?
"You sense it every week, man. It just depends on what the offense does. We wanted to take away the quick throws and make the throw the ball a little bit. Early on that's what they did, they threw the ball quick. We knew if we could get them to hold the ball a little bit, we could get back in it."
When Mack had his sack, the Raiders were up 13-10 and the field position they got on the following drive helped them add to the lead with a field goal to put them up 16-10.
As I see it, Mack was running neck and neck with Aaron Donald for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. This game is a great start to a strong finish. Meanwhile Donald's Rams team was beaten badly by the New York Giants with running back Andre Williams going for 110 yards while Donald didn't recording a single stat in the game. No tackles, no hits, no nothing.
Mack has one more game to send this thing home. It's next Sunday in Denver against Peyton Manning and the top seeded Broncos.