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SAM FARMER / ON THE NFL

It's all about sacks appeal with the Broncos

All but lost in the shadow of quarterback Tim Tebow, rookie linebacker Von Miller leads a ferocious Denver pass rush.

November 26, 2011|Sam Farmer
  • Broncos linebacker Von Miller chases down Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel for a sack in the first half of their game at Arrowhead Stadium two weeks ago.
Broncos linebacker Von Miller chases down Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel… (Dave Kaup / Reuters )

Most of the fanfare surrounding the Denver Broncos lately has been generated by quarterback Tim Tebow. But rest assured, rookie Von Miller is the type of player who keeps opposing coaches from sleeping soundly.

Miller, an outside linebacker drafted second overall, has 9 1/2 sacks, which is two shy of the franchise record set by Rulon Jones in 1980, and five off the NFL rookie record set by Jevon Kearse in 1999. Miller has six games to eclipse those marks, starting with Sunday's AFC West matchup at San Diego.

Miller and Elvis Dumerville have unleashed a 1-2 punch that the rookie has deemed "Batman and Robin," although both those pass rushers are worthy of more than sidekick status. Over the past three weeks, they have pummeled Oakland's Carson Palmer, Kansas City's Matt Cassel and the New York Jets' Mark Sanchez, all while getting too little credit in the hysteria of Tebowmania.

"I'm just doing whatever it takes to make sure that we get the ball back into the offense's hands," said Miller, who has forced three fumbles. "Or that we can get the ball in our hands, and put those points on the board."

The Chargers have to be especially wary because Philip Rivers has been sacked 25 times behind a porous, injury-riddled line. Only two quarterbacks have been sacked more: Pittsburgh's Ben Roethlisberger (31) and St. Louis' Sam Bradford (26).

Miller's hits haven't been entirely clean in the eyes of the NFL. He was fined $15,000 for a hit on Palmer, and $25,000 for one on Sanchez.

The budding Broncos star said he's trying to be more aware of the angles at which he's approaching quarterbacks "and what I'm using when I'm taking them down."

That said, he doesn't plan to dial down his intensity.

"I'm still going to have that relentless pursuit to the ball," he said. "I'm still going to play with a fanatical effort to the ball, but the thing that I need to change is my approach to engage in contact with players. I think I can definitely make that adjustment."

So Suh me

An NFL spokesman said any further punishment to Detroit defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh won't be decided until all the Week 12 games are played.

Suh was ejected from Thursday's game against Green Bay, when, after tangling with Packers lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith, the Lions defender climbed to his feet and gave Dietrich-Smith a stomp while walking away.

Suh has been fined multiple times for hits in his two seasons in the league, and the latest transgression, on national TV no less, could lead to a suspension.

New York Jets Coach Rex Ryan had a tongue-in-cheek reaction when asked about how he'd deal with Suh, perhaps the game's most dominating defensive tackle.

"I'll be honest with you, I think the young man, he should be released . . . and come to the Jets," Ryan joked. "I'm just throwing that out there. I don't think he's that good of a player. I don't know about the incident and all that jazz, but we'll take him. We'll sacrifice that way."

Double double

New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning, whose team plays New Orleans on Monday, is on the verge of his seventh consecutive season with at least 3,000 yards passing and 20 touchdowns. He needs 48 more yards and two more touchdowns.

The quarterbacks with the most seasons passing for at least 3,000 yards and 20 touchdowns (*includes 2011):

Quarterback (Number)

Brett Favre (15)

Peyton Manning (13)

Dan Marino (12)

Tom Brady (*9)

Drew Brees (*8)

Tweet of the week

From @ReillyRick: "Hi, I'm Tyler Palko and I'll be your server tonight at Appleby's."

sam.farmer@latimes.com

twitter.com/latimesfarmer

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