ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Von Miller leads the NFL in sacks, at 13.5, or three sacks more than any other player in the league entering Thursday night’s Raiders-Chiefs game in Kansas City.
The Denver Broncos outside linebacker has dealt with a continuing stream of double- and triple-teams all season to get to that sack total, and defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said Thursday that the Jacksonville Jaguars took it to an extreme in Denver's 20-10 win on Sunday.
“I’ve never seen a guy double-teamed as much as he was last game,’’ Phillips said. “It was phenomenal, and talking to their coaches at the end of the game, they said, ‘We weren’t going to let him be the difference.’ And he was the difference, and that tells you how good he was. They double-teamed him on every pass play, at least two guys and sometimes three. He’s an amazing player.’’’
Miller indeed made the difference on two key plays in the game. In the third quarter, Miller powered Jaguars left tackle Kelvin Beachum backward into quarterback Blake Bortles. It forced Bortles to make a poor throw, which Broncos cornerback Bradley Roby intercepted and returned 51 yards for a touchdown.
And in the game’s closing minutes, Miller shoved right tackle Jermey Parnell into Bortles, forcing a fumble that Broncos linebacker Shane Ray recovered at the Jaguars’ 29-yard line with 1 minute, 27 seconds to play. Miller was credited with a sack to go with a forced fumble on the play.
Miller said earlier this season he will not complain to the officials that he is held on many plays. And Thursday, when asked if he took all the attention from the long list of blockers as a sign of respect, Miller was his usual affable self.
“I’m trying to make plays, I’m not looking for respect,’’ Miller said. “I’m trying to make plays.’’
Miller later added: “I’m trying to ruin the game, and they don’t want me to do it.’’
In addition to the sacks, Miller is fourth in tackles (52) on the league’s No. 1 pass defense. He leads the team in tackles for loss (12) and quarterback hits (23) and has knocked down three passes. Miller needs five sacks over the last four games to tie his career best of 18.5 set in 2012.
In that season, Miller said he rarely was double-teamed, and he appreciates that more now while also looking back with at least some regret.
“The opportunities I do get, I have to take advantage of,’’ Miller said Thursday. “I’m kind of beating myself up about this. When I first came into the league, nobody was really chipping me; in my second year, nobody was really chipping me. I should have taken advantage of those opportunities when I got them. But I don’t really pay no mind to it. LeBron James, they triple-team him.’’