Broncos pass-rushing duo credits Del Rio, Manning

Published on NewsOK Modified: December 27, 2012 at 10:44 pm •  Published: December 27, 2012
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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — The Denver Broncos lead the NFL with 48 sacks, and all those crumpled quarterbacks in their wake can blame not only Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller but also Jack Del Rio and Peyton Manning.

Dumervil and Miller have 28½ sacks, earning the league's most prolific pass-rushing tandem return trips to the Pro Bowl — although they're determined to spend all-star weekend preparing for the Super Bowl in New Orleans rather than enjoying the sand, surf and sun.

Miller's freakish athletic ability and Dumervil's extraordinarily long arms that give him built-in leverage on every tackle are two of the biggest reasons for the Broncos' league-best 10-game winning streak.

In their eyes, though, the credit for all these sacks goes to the team's two biggest offseason additions, Del Rio and Manning, who embarked on comebacks in Colorado after messy exits from their former teams.

When Manning arrived from Indianapolis in March, Miller envisioned the four-time MVP leading those famous clock-chewing drives that would allow the Broncos to turn loose their "Orange Rush" answer to Indy's Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis come the fourth quarter.

"We wanted to be the best together, me and Elvis, and when we picked up Peyton Manning, we knew we had a chance to get it done," Miller said. "If we could get up a little bit, that allows us to do what we do best."

When Del Rio became Denver's seventh defensive coordinator in seven seasons following his firing as Jacksonville's head coach, Dumervil imagined the former linebacker's reputed run-stuffing defenses enabling the Broncos to get after quarterbacks long before the fourth quarter rolled around.

"Peyton coming here, it was big, but if you stop the run like Jack's teams did in Jacksonville, you get a chance to rush the passer," Dumervil said.

Turns out both were right.

Teams no longer run roughshod over the Broncos, who rank third in the league against the run a year after ranking 22nd. They get after the quarterback better than anyone and they rank sixth against the pass after finishing 18th last year. So, it's no surprise they're rolling toward the playoffs as the Super Bowl oddsmakers' latest sweetheart.

"Von is a special talent," cornerback Champ Bailey said. "You always have to know where he is. And when you find out where he is, here comes the other guy."

Miller is just the second player since the league started tracking forced fumbles in 1994 to have a season in which he racked up at least 15 sacks, 25 tackles for loss and forced five fumbles. The only other player to do it was Dallas' DeMarcus Ware in 2008.

Dumervil leads the league with six strip-sacks, and Miller has four.

"We definitely want to rake the ball," Del Rio said. "Those can be game-changing plays."

Dumervil was the first to hug Miller, who has 17½ sacks, last week when he broke his single-season franchise record of 17.

"He's a special guy," Dumervil said. "If there's anybody I'd be happy and proud of for breaking the record, it would definitely be Von."

Left tackle Ryan Clady said facing Dumervil and Miller in training camp was the best preparation he could have hoped for as he prepared to protect Manning's blind side.

"No question, going against Elvis and Von, they're great players, Pro Bowl players, and it elevates my game," Clady said.

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