If not for J.J. Watt, Von Miller might hold the title of the best defensive player in the NFL.
He’s a four-time Pro Bowler, a four-time first-team All-Pro selection, and was the Super Bowl MVP last year. He’s recorded 61 sacks and 16 forced fumbles in 73 games, and in four of his five seasons he’s recorded double-digit sack totals. He already has a sack this year, and last year racked up eleven in the regular season. In the playoffs, he simply took over - recording five sacks and two forced fumbles in three games. In his career, he has recorded at least one sack against 27 of the league’s 32 teams, and among those teams he hasn’t recorded a sack against, he’s faced the Indianapolis Colts the most (three times, four if you include playoffs).
“I don’t know [why that is],” Miller said on Wednesday when asked about it. “I’ve never sacked Andrew Luck. I don’t know. I think they do a great job up front with their offensive lineman, Joe Reitz and Anthony Castonzo, they are pretty good tackles. They have a pretty good scheme with a pretty good quarterback. It’s just tough to get to Andrew Luck and when you get to him it’s tough to bring him down with the ball.”
Miller is right about that, and he should know better than anyone. The Broncos as a team hit Luck eleven times last year (with DeMarcus Ware recording the only sack), and Miller had four of those quarterback hits. He’s managed to get seven career hits on Luck without having recorded a sack. Clearly, Miller knows how tough Luck is to face.
“He is going to hold the ball and find the perfect throw,” Miller said. “He is able to fight off some defenders and take a couple of hits. We are going to have to get to him.”
One of the most frustrating parts of facing Luck? The hits don’t seem to add up on him.
“I don’t know,” Miller said. “With a quarterback like Andrew Luck it really doesn’t because after every big hit he is shaking guys’ hands and congratulating them. They should [add up], but not going against No. 12.”
Even when those hits do take a toll - like last year, when Luck suffered a lacerated kidney against the Broncos on the first play of the fourth quarter - he stayed in and finished the game.
“He is tough, we all know that,” Miller said. “You can turn on the film and see that. He is going to break a couple tackles and run through a couple of defenders and he is going to make some great passes. We all know what type of tough guy he is.”
This weekend’s matchup will give us the chance to see Luck and the Colts’ offense - fresh off of a tremendous outing in week one - face Miller and the Broncos’ defense. Denver’s defense has been a dominating force dating back to last year, and Luck and the Colts are going to have their hands full with Miller and the rest of the unit on Sunday afternoon.