Khalil Mack posts six sacks in Chargers' win over Raiders

INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Rookie outside linebacker Tuli Tuipulotu sensed that a special performance from Los Angeles Chargers outside linebacker Khalil Mack was on the horizon.

"He was on a different type of timing this week. He just seemed real happy. I knew what time it was," Tuipulotu told ESPN. "He was smiling a whole lot this week. I saw him dancing a whole lot this week, so I knew it was coming."

Mack delivered in Sunday's 24-17 win over the Las Vegas Raiders with a record-breaking revenge game against the team that drafted him in 2014. He sacked Raiders quarterback Aidan O'Connell six times, a franchise single-game record, two of which resulted in fumbles. Mack's six sacks were the most by a player against his former team since player sacks became an official stat in 1982.

The Raiders had allowed just four sacks coming into this game, the seventh fewest in the NFL. But with starter Jimmy Garoppolo hurt, the Raiders turned to rookie O'Connell, who in his first start made getting sacks easy for Mack.

"We had time to get there," Mack said. "We had a young guy back there. He was thinking a lot, you could tell, and he made some mistakes, especially when it comes to ball security."

There was also the Raiders' blocking plan, which Mack said was different from how he had been played all season. Teams typically double team or use a chip block -- a quick block most often by a running back or a tight end before releasing into a route -- to slow Mack down, but on Sunday, the Raiders didn't do that as much as other teams have, which was a pleasant surprise for Mack. According to TruMedia, Mack was doubled five times Sunday, compared to 10 in last week's win over the Minnesota Vikings.

"I'm not going to talk too much," Mack said while laughing. "Y'all going to mess up my next game, and they're going to chip me the whole time. So I'm not going to say nothing else."

McDaniels, however, said that the Raiders had multiple people assigned to blocking Mack, but that none of the strategies were effective.

"We jammed him, chipped him, hit him in the ribs; we did everything we could try to do to disrupt him with another player," McDaniel said. "And then we had a tackle, obviously, assigned to him, as well. He had a great day. We were trying to put people over there on the right side for the most part, where he was, and he did better than we did. Clearly."

While few could have predicted six sacks, dominant performances against the Raiders have become the norm for Mack. He has 14 sacks since he joined the Chargers, nine of which have come against the Raiders.

The Raiders traded Mack to the Chicago Bears in 2018 for a package that featured two first-round picks, and for Mack, revenge is always on his mind when he plays against the Raiders.

"Knowing that organization and what it meant to me to get drafted to that organization, it's a lot of respect," Mack said, "but it's a lot of wanting to get back, too, with how things turned out."

Statistically, Mack had been struggling to get to the quarterback before Sunday. He entered the game with zero sacks and a pass rush win rate of 6.9%, 111th in the NFL, according to TruMedia. Mack had been effective as a run-stopper, but outside linebackers Joey Bosa and Tuli Tuipulotu were the team's best pass-rushers this season, Bosa leading the team with three sacks and Tuipulotu behind him with two.

Mack has seen the statistics, but he said that many of the analytics stats lack the context of him being chip-blocked and double-teamed against quarterbacks throwing the ball quickly. Still, Mack said he believed he was close to having a big game like the one he had Sunday.

"This guy is one of the best edge players of this generation, and he is still that guy," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. "He just showed everybody, 'I'm still that guy.'"

The Chargers (2-2) have a bye next week and will play the Dallas Cowboys in Week 6.