It was always about his own squad.
“Honestly, it wasn’t even for the Cardinals; it was for my teammates. It was just to put us in that mentality, no backing down now,” said Miller, who contributed two strip sacks to his own challenge.
Having the taste of four consecutive losses in their mouths, Miller knew the Broncos needed a change of pace. Rather than cliche Instagram posts saying “Back to the lab” or “Just gotta keep grinding,” Miller went with a bold claim his teammates would have to back up.
Because he knew they would.
“As a leader, I just felt like that was best for my squad,” he said, adding later that such a prediction is “not even like” him. “When I thought about it, it’s not even like me. It’s not even like me, but I thought it was the best thing to do to get my teammates going, and that’s great it worked.”
Oh, it worked.
The defense alone was responsible for two touchdowns via pick-sixes from Todd Davis and Chris Harris Jr., another interception by Bradley Roby in the end zone, 13 QB hits and six sacks, including two of the ball-stripping variety, both by Miller.
“I come up out here and stand in front of the podium and point the finger at myself and say, ‘I have to do a better job, I have to do a better job.’ It’s great to go out there and do your job. I was able to get some sacks today,” he said, praising the great inside push from Derek Wolfe, Zach Kerr and Shaquil Barrett to help make those happen. “We just started the game on fire – Todd Davis with a pick six, then a couple plays later Chris Harris with a pick-six. My teammates, they played unbelievable today.”
Rookie edge rusher Bradley Chubb added a pair of sacks to the half-dozen total, reigniting Broncos Country’s faith in the Miller-Chubb dynamic duo.
But No. 58 reminded us what is needed for their pass-rushing to be dominant - a threatening inside rush plus an intimidating secondary.
On Thursday, the Broncos’ defense finally had its trifecta in working order.
“It just shows you what type of defense that we have,” Miller said. “We got two great outside rushers, but honestly it’s not even about us, we got a great inside rush. It doesn’t work unless you get the type of pressure that we did from Wolfe, Shaq, Shelby and Zach Kerr. And then the no-fly zone today, Chris Harris and Bradley Roby played unbelievable tonight. So, when everybody is firing on all cylinders like we did tonight, it’s easy for me and Bradley to do what we do.”
Chubb, who is now fourth on the list of the season’s sack leaders with 6.5 (and whose team mentor sits atop the list with 7.5), said the defense’s dominance against the Cardinals was absolutely in part a response to Miller’s challenge.
“It starts with your leaders, and when your leader publicly said, ‘We’ll kick their ass,’ I feel like, as a team, we just have to rally around that and prove him right,” Chubb said, adding that he couldn’t even remember all the players responsible for turnovers (and who could blame him? It was hard to keep track). “Everyone just did a good job as a defense, and I feel like we’re getting our identity back.”
The Broncos will have a true test of that identity in 10 days when they face the AFC West leaders and one of the league’s most prolific offenses in the Kansas City Chiefs. Playing again on the road - but against a team it nearly beat at home two weeks ago - the Broncos defense will have to contend with Patrick Mahomes, Travis Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt.
So is Von Miller prepared to issue any predictions for the Chiefs to rally his teammates?
“You have to catch me on Wednesday.”
Who thinks the Broncos have a chance against the Chiefs now?
This poll is closed
"docllv" - which today means, "I always think they have a chance"
"Von" - of course...and we’ll kick their asses in Arrowhead even
"Eeyore" (to be said in proper gloomy voice): "We just beat the worst team in the league, no reason to get our hopes up now."