The Buffalo Bills are set to take on the Los Angeles Chargers this Saturday. Mathematically this isn’t technically a “must win” game yet, but let’s face it — it’s a must-win game. Just like the two after that. On paper, it seems like we can start focusing on the Miami Dolphins, but Buffalo has lost some they should’ve won already this season.
Also, the Chargers have a Khalil Mack. Things can go awry very easily if a star player takes over the game, and Mack is that level of player. Let’s check in on him taking over a game earlier this season, and hope that he’s not in any hurry to repeat this performance.
Play 1 — Change of direction
To begin, Mack looked like he was ready to attack the edge. Quickly cutting back he led the offensive tackle into the weeds of another block, found an open lane and accelerated for the sack.
Play 2 — Power rush strip sack
I’m a big fan of using an opponent as a battering ram and that’s what Khalil Mack did in the GIF above here. Note the rapid dip right before contact and explosion upward to maximize leverage. Mack has plenty of power, but power plus technique is... well, this...
Play 3 — Swiper! No swiping!
¡Hola, Soy Skarekrow! Today, backpack and I are going to visit Abuela and learn how a well-timed swipe of the arm can lead to a strip sack on an opposing quarterback. Explorer mode aside, Mack was again showing off power, driving another large human back far enough to get within striking distance.
Play 4 — Hold on
The big change here was Mack bending to get around the edge and using a rip move to try and break free clean. His rip move was largely unsuccessful, but once again his legs kept churning all the way to another sack.
As noted in the GIF and a friendly reminder, if the defender uses a rip technique and it leads to this positioning, it’s basically like having iframes for the offensive holding. It’s an exception specifically carved out in the rule book as “not offensive holding.”
Play 5 — Coverage, sack
Even the greatest pass rushers will find themselves in coverage from time to time. Here, Khalil Mack passed off his assignment and crashed back to the quarterback, and the result was sack number five on the day. Yes, in case the intro didn’t clarify it — these plays were all in one game. We’re not quite done yet, either.
Play 6 — In the Grasp
In an obvious passing down, it’s obvious that we’ll see a pass rusher trying to hit home. Mack snapped ankles on his way to his sixth sack of the game.
The Final Straw
The Los Angeles Chargers are likely playing for pride to finish their season. As any competitive person knows, sometimes that’s all you need. If LA comes into the game trying to prove a point, don’t rule out what a star player or two can do. I don’t think I’m breaking any new ground here with the “Khalil Mack is great” analysis, but sometimes a refresher isn’t a bad idea.