Saving some dance moves
If Von Miller keeps this up all season, he's headed for quite the year.
In his second preseason appearance and first extended time since signing a record-breaking contract, Miller made his presence known. On the Rams' first third down of the game, Miller flew past Rams right tackle Rodger Saffold into the backfield. Before Keenum had much of a chance to look downfield, Miller was dragging him to the turf for his first sack of the preseason.
"It feels good, man," Miller said. "Sacks are what I'm supposed to do. That's in the description. Whenever I can go out there and do my job, it's always great. You're not going to go out there and get sacks every single game, but preseason, regular season, whatever it may be, whenever I can go out there and get a sack or two, it's definitely relieving."
For a moment, Miller looked like he would celebrate in a subdued fashion. Then the dancing instinct took over. But just as the third preseason game is only a dress rehearsal for the real thing, Miller said he knows he has to leave some juice for the regular season.
"It was the preseason," Miller said. "I hesitated for a second, I was like 'Nah, don't let it all out right now.' We've got a long season and a whole lot of sacks coming so I'm going to leave the good dances for those."
Miller followed that sack with a quarterback hit on the next Rams' drive that caused the ball to flutter incomplete. Los Angeles' drive stalled, and they were forced to punt.
Keeping 'em out
For the third consecutive preseason game, the Broncos' first-team defense kept its opponent out of the end zone. On Saturday, the Rams managed to put three field goals on the board, but Los Angeles couldn't find a way to get six points.
"It's a great mentality," OLB Shane Ray said. "That's what we go out there and try to do every game. We don't want any team to put points on us. We want to try to stuff teams every time they get the ball. It doesn't matter how long we're on the field or how many times we get put back out there, we're going to do our job. That's what we continue to do, and that's what makes us who we are."
Despite allowing 11 completions for 115 yards in the first half, the defense provided enough pressure to keep Case Keenum and Jared Goff uncomfortable. And on third down, when the defense's impact is often most felt, the Broncos allowed just one conversion on seven Rams' attempts.
"I just see guys flying around," Ray said. "That's what we want to do as a team. Everybody is flying around and everyone is trying to make plays. We bring a high level of energy, so it's just good to see everyone buying into that and playing at that level."
Outside linebacker Sadat Sulleyman finds himself in a crowded position group, but he found a way to make plays on Saturday as the first round of cuts approaches.
With 4:58 to go in the fourth quarter and the Rams trailing by eight points, Sulleyman knifed his way into the backfield on 3rd-and-5 and dragged Los Angeles quarterback Sean Mannion to the ground.
"It felt relieving," Sulleyman said. "I was just getting stressed getting all these snaps and not getting any pressure, but today it just gave it in. I got my first one, and I just wanted another one after that."
On the next series, with the Rams facing a 4th-and-2 at their own 30-yard line, Sulleyman sacked Mannion again and knocked the ball out of his hands. The Rams would recover at their own 21-yard line, but the play sealed the game for the Broncos. Quarterback Paxton Lynch trotted out to take three knees, and Denver headed to the locker room with a victory.
When Miller was asked a few weeks ago about rookies who had impressed him in camp, he suggested Sulleyman's name to the media. After Saturday night's performance, a few more people may take notice.
"I just had to stop thinking out there and just be myself, honestly," Sulleyman said.