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Miller's small contributions having big impact on Broncos

  • By Jeff Darlington NFL.com
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SAN DIEGO -- As soon as Broncos linebacker Von Miller made the play -- which might have been the most important and underrated moment of Denver's win against San Diego on Sunday -- his mind immediately raced forward. There was no time for celebration.

Instead, there was only time for the anxiety created by the ensuing overtime field goal attempt by kicker Nick Novak, which Miller couldn't bring himself to watch from the sideline.

"It's hard when they take it out of your hands," Miller said. "I knew I had to go to the sideline with some anxiety for a minute. I didn't watch. I was listening to the crowd. I looked up, and everyone was waiving, 'no good!' "

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Whether Miller realized it or not, he did have a major impact on the missed attempt. It was his effort (by tackling Mike Tolbert in the backfield) that added 4 yards more onto Novak's 53-yard kick. And consequently, it was Novak's miss that led to another game-winning opportunity for Tim Tebow and Denver's offense.

Miller's play was called "single strong," and it called for the rookie to blitz from the outside.

"The defensive line was able to get so much push to funnel them over to the right side," Miller said. "I was able to squeeze through the block and get him down on the ground."

Miller's outlook on the play actually symbolizes his effort this season: He is simply going about his business with no desire to take the credit. But if he continues this level of play, there's no reason why he shouldn't easily earn the title as the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year.

Heck, the way he's producing, it would only be the first of many awards in a very bright future for the second overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft. Miller isn't just one of the best rookies this year -- he's one of the best defensive players overall. He's simply happy to see his team coming out on top.

"We're starting to pile up wins, starting to play a little more consistent," said Miller, who has 10.5 sacks (which ranks tied for third in the league) and three forced fumbles (also tied for third). "I'm just looking forward to getting back into that facility to keep this going."

Follow Jeff Darlington on Twitter @JeffDarlington.

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