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Khalil Mack: 'I'm trying to play ball better and better each week'

Here are some highlights of the conference call that former University at Buffalo and current Oakland Raiders star defensive end/outside linebacker Khalil Mack had with reporters covering the Buffalo Bills Wednesday in advance of Sunday's game at Oakland:

As the Raiders began letting go of what seemed to be a commanding, 24-7 lead against Carolina last Sunday, (punctuated by Mack's interception return for a touchdown with just under a minute left in the half), he took it back. Besides the interception, he had a sack, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery, making him the first player since Charles Woodson in 2009 to register in all of those categories.

Mack, who was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week, closed out the Raiders'35-32 win by sacking Cam Newton on fourth-and-10 from the Oakland 44 and causing the fumble that Mack recovered with 53 seconds left.

"When you talk about our offense going down there and end up getting the go-ahead score, kicking a field goal to put us up, and putting the defense back out there on the field, it's up to us at that point to end the game," Mack said. "That's what me and (quarterback) Derek (Carr) talked about before that series, and we wanted to make sure we went out and did it."

On his season, which so far has seen him register eight sacks in the last six games to help the Raiders to a 9-2 record: "I'm just trying to go out and play ball better and better each week I take the field."

On how much he paid attention to the Bills while he was at UB: "No doubt. Being out in Buffalo, you see different things. We used to go to the indoor facility up there and practice. See all the greats, O.J. Simpson and all those different portraits they have up in the indoor facility. Being that it was snowing -- snowing like hell up there -- they let us come in there and use their facility. So it was always a good thing for me to get out of the snow and go in there and have a great practice."

On whether he had thoughts of being drafted by the Bills: "There were different things that went on through the draft process that made me think it could potentially happen, but it didn't. It is what it is, but at the same time, I'm grateful that everything worked out the way it did."

On whether he still has the "small-school" chip on his shoulder: "Three years in the league, you still have a little bit of that. Your school is still playing on Thursdays and Fridays and Tuesdays ... there are a lot of guys that kind of still joke around about Buffalo and all those different things like that. So it's still on your mind. You can't really get rid of it, but at the same time, being three years in, it's not too much of that. It's just more of a grind to continue to get better."

On Bills LeSean McCoy: "His elusiveness is on a whole other caliber. It's almost unreal to see the plays that he makes coming out of the backfield, shaking defenders and testing the discipline of the defense and the patience that he has. Just also seeing the acceleration once he finds those holes and those creases, he's pulling out and making guys miss. That's what makes him very, very, very special as a player."

On Tyrod Taylor's running ability: "It's almost like playing a Wildcat the whole game."

 

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