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Von Miller posts best stat line since Super Bowl 50 as he helps key Broncos to win over Seahawks

DENVER — With just over nine minutes to play, quarterback Case Keenum sat on the Broncos’ sideline and reviewed the images of Denver’s previous offensive possession.

He tried to, at least.

On the field, Von Miller was busy recording his third sack of the afternoon, and the crowd’s reaction was deafening enough that Keenum had to turn to look.

“I’m more so trying to stay focused on looking at the pictures, getting ready for my next series,” Keenum said after the Broncos’ 27-24 win, “but it’s hard not to notice when the crowd’s going crazy and Von’s out there crawling or whatever he’s doing.

“That’s impressive to watch. I’m glad I’m on the sidelines when he’s on the field, that’s for sure.”

Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson wasn’t as lucky, as Miller brought him down three times and jarred the ball loose from him in the second quarter. 

Miller’s performance Sunday was his fifth career game with at least three sacks. Only Justin Houston has more three-sack games since Miller entered the NFL in 2011.

He also boosted his sack total, which boosted his career total to 86.5. At 29 years old, Miller now has the 50th-most sacks in NFL history.

Those numbers — plus another forced fumble and fumble recovery — were enough to earn Miller the team’s only game ball.

It also led Head Coach Vance Joseph to declare Sunday’s game as Miller’s best since Joseph began coaching the Broncos in 2017.

If the Broncos can keep playing with a lead, more of those performances should follow.

“He’s a special player, but if you’re not playing with a lead, he can’t be special,” Joseph said. “… Hopefully we can get more leads and he can be special each week for us.”

Which of Miller’s plays was best? Depends what you’re looking for.

Want a momentum-killing sack? Watch Miller explode back inside and knock the ball away from Wilson.

Want a freakish display of athleticism? Watch Miller chase down Wilson as he tries to spur a comeback.

Just want to shake your head? Watch Miller snatch the ball away from Seahawks running back Chris Carson.

“[Defensive Coordinator Joe] Woods and [Assistant Defensive Line Coach Chris] Beake — all the defensive guys — they’ve been preaching running to the ball,” Miller said. “‘Run to the ball, run to the ball.’ This whole offseason, I’ve been like, ‘Why? Why? Why?’ Now I see.”

Miller’s only slight hiccup during the game was when he pumped the crowd up as he stood on the sideline. Keenum tried to quiet the crowd from the field, but the orange-clad fans were too into Miller’s performance to listen.

“I wasn’t even paying attention,” Miller said. “And I looked up, and Case was telling everybody to be quiet. I felt kind of bad for a second.”

He more than made up for it during the rest of the game, though.

Even when he wasn’t taking Wilson down himself, he freed up other players to get their own. 

“He’s really a freak, and he does a lot of things that help other players make plays, too,” said linebacker Todd Davis about Miller’s role in a fourth-quarter Chris Harris Jr. sack. “The way he rushed off the edge and maintained that tackle and Chris 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.”

Just how dominant was Miller on Sunday afternoon?

The last time he posted at least two sacks and two forced fumbles was Feb. 7, 2016.

Miller earned Super Bowl 50 MVP honors that night.

He wouldn’t look ahead Sunday afternoon to another potential playoff run or even a few weeks from now.

Asked how he would keep his team focused on improving as the season progresses, Miller feigned annoyance.

“Geez,” Miller said. “Let us have some fun.” 

If he keeps playing like this, that shouldn’t be a problem.

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