ALAMEDA, Calif. -- The Oakland Raiders did not register a sack in the last two games of the regular season and finished with an NFL-low 25 sacks.
And that involved Mack enjoying an eight-game sack streak from late October through mid-December. So what changed the last two games of the season and how do the wild-card Raiders get to Houston Texans quarterback Brock Osweiler on Saturday in the league's opening playoff game?
Mack, an NFL defensive player of the year candidate, said Tuesday the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos slowed the tempo and used screen passes and draw plays to keep the Raiders' edge rushers off their quarterbacks.
"But all in all, you've got to stop the run against that team," Mack said Tuesday of the Broncos, before pivoting and saying it's the same deal against the Texans.
"We didn't do enough to win the ballgame. Defensively, you can't let that team score 24 points, so that's just on us. Flat out ... we were ready; we just fell short on certain plays."
Mack finished with a team-leading 11 sacks, four fewer than he had last season, when he was All-Pro at both defensive end and outside linebacker.
Irvin had seven sacks.
But against Denver, Raiders coach Jack Del Rio said his team displayed some of its worst tackling of the season.
"Like Jack said, 20 missed tackles is unacceptable," Irvin said. "If you want to win in the playoffs you can't have 20 missed tackles. You can't have missed assignments. You can't have mental errors. That's how you'll be sitting home next week."
That can happen even with the Texans having their own QB carousel going on.
"It don't matter," Irvin said. "Whether it's Tom Savage or whether it's Brock Osweiler, we're going to try to confuse him and get to him as much as we can."
Pro Football Focus had Mack finishing with the most QB pressures in the NFL at 96 to go with his 11 sacks and 11 other QB hits. He was their highest-graded edge rusher at 93.6.
Irvin was 18th among edge rushers with a grade of 82.7.
"Win or go home so it's ... time (to step up), man," Mack said. "Getting ready to go down there and have our best game of the year."
Mack sacked Osweiler once in Mexico City but got him five times in one game last season when he was with the Broncos.
Those same Broncos pushed Oakland back into the wild-card round, forcing the Raiders to play on a short week and, yes, angering Mack and Irvin.
"No doubt," Mack said. "You definitely have a bad taste in your mouth. That's why I'm grateful to have this opportunity. Can't wait."