One of Von Miller’s newest teammates nailed it when describing the edge rusher’s performance against the Seahawks - and specifically against its elite QB.
“Von is a monster — he’s a man among boys out here,” said Adam Jones, who joined the Broncos’ defense two weeks ago and got to see first-hand what a difference maker Miller is in the game. And that includes having played with DeMarcus Ware and Jevon Kearse.
“But Von Miller is by far the best defensive end, linebacker, however you want to call it, that I’ve played with — period,” Jones added. “The guy comes to practice every day, plays hard, practices hard, leads by example — and it shows on Sunday.”
Even Mother Nature can’t stop the Vonster.
With asthma and an allergy to grass, the outside linebacker has been utilizing oxygen on the sidelines since he came into the league.
But a jumbotron view of No. 58 putting on the oxygen mask at Mile High on Sunday after his third sack was cause for extra celebration in Denver - one he felt a tiny bit bad about.
“When I get to the sideline, I’m going to get on the oxygen no matter what, even if I [don’t] need it or not. It’s just tradition,” he said, adding he wasn’t trying to hype the crowd. “I wasn’t even paying attention, and I look up and Case is telling everybody to be quiet. I felt kind of kind of bad for a second. But it was a great moment to share with the fans and share with Broncos Country.”
#Broncos @VonMiller pumping up crowd as he wears oxygen mask.. He moved into NFL's top 50 in sacks today #Denver7— Troy Renck (@TroyRenck) September 9, 2018
For Miller’s long-time teammates, this was business as usual.
Well, sort of.
Miller’s three sacks, four QB hits, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery was as dominating a performance as he’s had since Super Bowl 50, and it appropriately vaulted him onto the NFL’s Top 50 All-time Sacks list.
“He’s really a freak and he does a lot of things that help other players make plays too,” noted Todd Davis, who led the team with eight tackles and one QB hit. “The way he really rushed off the edge and maintained that tackle and Chris [Harris Jr.] was able to come off the edge and make a play. People see Chris make the play, but you don’t see what Von does again to make another sack happen. He’s a great player, and I’m just excited to watch him play, even when I’m on the field with him.”
Justin Simmons, who added another interception to his resume on Sunday, agreed that a pass rusher like Miller makes everybody’s job on defense a little bit easier - especially against a quarterback like Wilson.
“When you play with someone like that, it makes your job so much easier. Russ is definitely one of the best, if not the best, mobile quarterbacks in the game, and so when you see him back there flustered a little bit it’s because of ‘58’ and the rest of the guys up front,” Simmons said. “When you have a dominant front seven like we do, it makes our job on the back end so much better. That’s what we’re encouraged about. We didn’t play the best that we can, and we know that our front seven is amazing, so we’re going to get after it every week.”
Von Miller cracked Russell Wilson! pic.twitter.com/vlfKPar5M5— Prime Bam Childress (@fearthe_beard11) September 9, 2018
And rookie Bradley Chubb made sure to take notice of the “sack master” on his team.
“When he got the first [sack] I was like, ‘OK, he’s so special.’ When he got the second one, I was like, ‘OK, he needs to slow down, I need to get one.’ Then he got the third one and I was like, ‘Alright, this is his game and nobody can take that from him,’” Chubb said. “He’s just a great player, and I’m happy to be on his sideline.”
Nothing in Miller’s performance Sunday was out of character. It’s what Broncos fans have come to expect from him.
But it has been a long time since getting to witness such domination from No. 58, and that had everything to do with having a lead in the game.
“He’s a special player, but if you’re not playing with a lead, he can’t be special,” coach Vance Joseph said. “Last season, we played with I think two leads, so hopefully we can get more leads, and he can be special each week for us.”
Miller certainly won’t argue with that, but he’s definitely happy to have the game against Wilson behind him.
Wilson, who was sacked six times, only tallied five rushing yards on the day. And he did beat the defense with his arm for 298 yards, but thanks to the Broncos’ offense being able to keep up - and even ahead - the strategy allowed the defense to maintain its aggressiveness and frustrate the Seahawks.
“We played a really tough defense. This is one of the best defenses we will face all year,” Wilson said after the game. “They have, obviously, Von, who is a great player and made some key plays.”
One of those key plays started off as a mistake by Von, who self-described his mistake as an “olé” after jumping outside and needing to gain ground to cover the runner.
“I had olé’ed outside, and technically that’s not a good move,” Miller laughed. “I knew I needed to get back down to be able to make the tackle, and the running back, he was running and I just saw the ball and I just grabbed it.”
RIP to all those that think Mack is even in the Von Miller discussion. pic.twitter.com/BOEMZkShVP— Andrew K (@COSportsNut) September 9, 2018
Miller has stripped the ball from a QB many times, but it’s not often he “steals” it right out of the hands of the running back.
“[Defensive Coordinator Joe] Woods and Coach Beake [assistant defensive line coach Chris Beake] and all the defensive guys, they’ve been preaching ‘Run to the ball, run to the ball, run to the ball,’ and this whole offseason, I’ve been like ‘Why? Why? Why?’” Miller admitted. “Now I see it. Now I see it. So I appreciate you, Coach.”
Making a strong case already for Defensive MVP this season, Miller knows he can do what he does because of the strong supporting cast around him.
“I know we’ve got really great rushers all across the field. All I’ve got to do is rush. If the time is ticking and [Wilson] is holding the ball four or five seconds, somebody else is coming. So having Bradley and Shaq and Shane and Wolfe and all those guys, it definitely eases the mind,” Miller said, happy to share the glory in a win. “We’ve got a great team. We got a great win today. We played great defense. This is how you want to start a season off.”