ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Every week, it seems, Von Miller makes a play or two that makes him look superhuman.
Maybe he's bending around an offensive tackle, getting so low to the ground that keeping his balance appears impossible. Maybe he's ripping the ball away from an opponent, rendering them helpless. Or maybe, like last week, he's diagnosing a play at lightning speed, grabbing an interception and speeding off for a 42-yard return, even at 250 pounds.
Pittsburgh head coach Mike Tomlin saw these extraordinary plays up close and personal as the coach of the 2018 AFC Pro Bowl team.
"I thought he was an alien," Tomlin said Wednesday. "He was a special player among a group of special players. I just relayed that to the team this morning. He went by me in the fourth quarter of that game and said, 'Coach, I got this.' I watched him take over a Pro Bowl and change the climate inside that stadium."
In this case, it came in a game that had no bearing on a team's record but still showed Miller's outstanding skill set. The NFC team — trailing 24-23 — had one final shot late in the fourth quarter, but Miller had other plans. The Broncos' six-time Pro Bowler shoved right tackle Duane Brown into quarterback Jared Goff and then ripped the ball from Goff, all in one motion. The AFC held on for the win.
"Obviously, having witnessed that firsthand, man, it was something that you appreciate from a talent standpoint, and you've just got knowledge of what that guy's capable of doing," Tomlin said. "Von Miller needs no endorsement from me. He's got reels and reels of tape that bear that out."
Tomlin isn't the only one who has been impressed watching Miller. Ben Roethlisbeger, who has been on the receiving end of three of Miller's 100 career sacks (including postseason), also knows the challenge he faces on Sunday.
"I've got nothing but crazy respect for him," Roethlisberger said. "[He's] such a good football player, and he really takes pride in his craft. He's almost scientific about it. His work ethic, his studying and all the stuff that he does, he is an incredible football player."
Of course, it's not just Miller who poses a problem for opponents. Fellow outside linebacker Bradley Chubb has manufactured significant pressure from the other side of the formation, too. He leads all rookies with nine sacks.
"It's unbelievable — maybe the best [outside linebacker duo] in the game right now, those two guys," Roethlisberger said. "We're trying to figure out a way to block them so we can make some plays, because they are very good. … [Chubb]'s an extremely talented football player, so I don't think that [his production is] a surprise. … They're both really good."