SAN DIEGO – Raiders edge rusher Bruce Irvin calls himself Robin to Khalil Mack’s Batman. The pass rushers have formed a dynamic duo this season, combining for 18 sacks between them.
Attention and praise is typically heaped on Mack, a legitimate contender to be named the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year.
Mack still made an impact in a 19-16 victory over the San Diego Chargers that clinched a Raiders playoff spot, but the self-appointed sidekick stole the show.
He had six tackles, two sacks and two other quarterback hits in the victory.
“Robin showed up today,” Irvin said with a smile. “Robin woke up with a pep in his step. I had a good breakfast. I just felt good about the whole situation when I woke up. I was ready to go, and I’m happy I was able to contribute and come out of here with this win.”
The Raiders pass rush was particularly effective preventing a late Chargers comeback. Irvin had a sack in that last ditch effort, and generated pressure on a fourth down pass that Reggie Nelson intercepted to seal victory.
Irvin now has seven sacks on the season and five in his last six games. The Raiders are thrilled with Irvin’s recent play. The man himself feels like he’s on a tear.
“This is the most consistent I’ve been in the five years I’ve been in the league,” Irvin said. “I still have a long way to go, a lot of critiquing to do in my game. I’m definitely on a roll, and I’m definitely playing well right now.”
Crabtree’s toe-tapper:Raiders receiver Michael Crabtree didn’t have a good game last week against Kansas City, but responded well against San Diego. He had six catches for 60 yards, including a 13-yard touchdown catch late in the first half that got the Raiders back in it.
Crabtree extended fully and managed to get his toes down just inside the boundary. That was acknowledged after a replay review, where the referee said their was a “slice of blue” between Crabtree and the sideline.
That was vintage Crabtree, a savvy move from a veteran who has made quite a few this season and works on that craft extensively in practice.
“We’ve had so many of those this year,” Crabtree said. “It was fun to do.”
Murray responds well after fumble: Latavius Murray hadn’t fumbled all year entering Sunday’s game. Then he lost possession twice in the first half. The first miscue rolled out of bounds. The second occurred in the red zone, and was recovered by San Diego.
The Raiders went right back to Murray after that and he really picked up steam with chunk yardage on the ground that kept the offensive running strong.
He finished with 81 yards on 13 carries, and was heavily involved in key scoring drives.