While we talk a lot about the season that Khalil Mack has been having, Bruce Irvin has been rather quietly had a nice run of his own.
Last week in Kansas City, Irvin had a three-game sack streak snapped. The loss put a crimp in the Raiders’ plans of winning the division.
That crimp was released before the Raiders took the field today, with the Chiefs having lost to the Titans. Irvin had the opportunity to get his sack total back on track while getting the team back on track as well.
The man who likes to call himself Robin to Mack’s Batman, showed why Batman and Robin are called a dynamic duo. It’s because sometimes Robin steps up and saves the day. Today ‘Robin’ put up two sacks and three QB pressures. The final pressure came on fourth down late to hit Philip Rivers as he threw, forcing the game ending interception. He was no sidekick on this day.
“Robin kind of showed up today,” said Irvin with a grin. “Robin woke up with a pep in his step.
“I had a good breakfast, I just felt good overall the whole situation when I woke up, so I’m just happy I could contribute and just comes out of here with this W.”
Mack’s play along with Irvin’s emergence show why having two pass rushers makes all the difference. Stop one and the other goes off. Or as has been the case over the past months or so, both get theirs.
“From the moment that Bruce arrived,” said Jack Del Rio. “he and Khalil have had a natural competition and a natural bond where they’re two alpha males that are going to push each other every day. Bruce has been tremendous for us. He’s been a great addition to the football team.”
Irvin now has 5 sacks in his last 5 games and 7.0 on the season -- which is one sack off of his career high -- , none bigger than his two today to send the Raiders home with a 19-16 victory and a spot in the playoffs.
“I’d say this is probably the most consistent I’ve been in the five years I’ve been in the league,” said Irvin after the game. “But I still got a long way to go. I still got a lot of critiquing to do in my game, but I’m definitely on a roll and I’m definitely playing some good ball right now.”
He and the Raiders both have a long way to go. It’s not quite as long now, but with this team now at 11-3, they have a one game lead in the division with two games to go to keep on track and hold onto their lead atop the AFC West and a first round bye in the playoffs.