"I've always kind of kidded that Ray is just as intense and passionate in the fourth quarter of the fourth preseason game as he is in the first quarter of a playoff game," said Peyton Manning, who is 8-0 against Lewis and the Ravens, including playoffs, since 2002. "It's real, and that's pretty special and pretty unique."
Miller, who likes to speak of his "fanatical effort," shows all signs that he can match Lewis' intensity and, like Lewis, that he can do it with his own signature flair. Lewis' trademark is "The Squirrel" — the frenetic dance he does when he comes out of the tunnel during pregame introductions. Miller prefers to do his dancing after he sacks the quarterback.
The linebackers haven't crossed paths often but when they do, Miller tries to take advantage.
"I've had the opportunity, the blessing, just to be in his presence and talk to him and pick his mind a little bit, so that's great," Miller said.
Miller's second-year surge has been as big a boost for the Broncos on defense as Manning's arrival has been for the offense. It's a big reason the Broncos are 10-3, with the AFC West title already secured and a chance at a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Denver has the fourth-ranked defense in yards allowed and has given up fewer points than anyone in the AFC. Denver has 39 sacks this season, tied for second in the NFL, and Miller's presence accounts for more than just the 16 he's recorded.
"In my eyes, I think he's been, all around, maybe the defensive player of the year," Dumervil said. "He's been really working at all phases of the game. He's a big part of what we've got accomplished so far so it's been great."
Notes: LB Wesley Woodyard (ankle) was limited in practice Thursday. Told of Woodyard's statement that he would definitely play against the Ravens, Broncos coach John Fox said, "Sometimes we're all legends in our own mind. We'll be day-to-day and we'll see how that goes." ... Manning needs 188 yards to hit 4,000 yards for the 12th time. ... The Broncos lead the league by outscoring their opponents by 71 points in the fourth quarter. Chicago is next at plus-47.
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP_NFL