Top Ten Tuesdays continues today with a look at linebacker Von Miller’s best plays of the 2012 season.
It’s the second Top 10 Broncos TV has put together this offseason, following a look at Peyton Manning’s Top 10 touchdown passes last week.
Here’s a look at the order we came up with for Miller’s top plays of a season in which he set the franchise’s new single-season sack record.
10: Miller sacks Matt Ryan in the fourth quarter
Down 27-14 with the Broncos in the midst of a fourth-quarter comeback, the Denver defense had Atlanta in a third-and-5 at its own 25-yard line. Miller made sure that drive ended quickly, and his 11-yard sack of Ryan forced a three-and-out and gave the Broncos a chance to continue their comeback effort.
9: Miller strip-sacks Carson Palmer
Up 16-7 in the third quarter on Thursday Night Football, Miller and the Broncos defense had no interest in allowing Oakland to get back in the game. On a third down, Miller didn’t even let the Raiders go three-and-out. He went ahead and got the ball back on third down instead of fourth, sacking Palmer and forcing a fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Mitch Unrein.
8: Miller stones New England
Just before halftime, the Patriots were threatening to run the Broncos out of the building. Facing a third-and-goal at the 1-yard line with less than 10 seconds remaining in the half, a New England touchdown looked inevitable. But Miller had other plans, drilling Bolden in the backfield for a loss of four yards and forcing the Patriots to settle for a field goal. That resulted in a more manageable 17-7 deficit.
7: Miller strip-sacks Philip Rivers
After Peyton Manning was sacked in the end zone for a safety, the Chargers were threatening in a Week 11 rematch, down just 17-9. But with the ball near midfield, Rivers dropped back and was met almost immediately by Miller for a 9-yard loss on a strip-sack. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard recovered the fumble, and three plays later Manning found wide receiver Eric Decker for a 20-yard touchdown and a 24-9 lead.
6: Miller hits Cam Newton immediately in the backfield
With a chance to get his team back in the game late in the third quarter, Newton took a shotgun snap, ready to take off on a designed run. Before he could even take a step forward, Miller sent the 6-foot-5, 245-pound quarterback flying onto his back for a 4-yard loss, forcing a punt.
5: Miller forces a bad throw by Newton for a pick-six
The Panthers looked like they would jump right back into the game after Manning was strip-sacked and Carolina took over. But on the first play of the ensuing drive, Miller put intense pressure on Newton and forced an errant throw. It was intercepted by cornerback Tony Carter and returned 40 yards for a touchdown and a 24-7 lead.
4: Miller forces a fumble from Jonathan Stewart
Miller’s stat-sheet-stuffing day against Carolina also included a forced fumble when he stuffed Stewart at the line of scrimmage, forcing the running back to lose his grip on the ball.
3: Miller sets the tone with a Newton sack
Earlier in the week, Miller had predicted that he would mimic Newton’s Superman pose after he sacked the former No. 1 overall selection. He got that out of the way early, ending Carolina’s first drive with a sack that was followed by the signature celebration.
2: Miller grabs his first career pick-six
Miller helped put the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers out of reach late in the third quarter. After Manning hit Demaryius Thomas for a 10-yard touchdown and a 21-10 lead, two plays later, Miller intercepted Josh Freeman and returned the pick 26 yards for a touchdown and a 28-10 lead.
1: Miller becomes the single-season sack king
In the third quarter against the Cleveland Browns, Miller sacked Brandon Weededn for a loss of 9 yards. The quarterback takedown was Miller’s 17.5th, which made him the franchise’s single-season sack leader, passing Elvis Dumervil’s 17. He finished the season with 18.5 after he sacked Chiefs quarterback Brady Quinn the following week.
What do you think of the list? Anything missing? Too much from his dominating game against Carolina? Let us know what you think and what your top 10 would be in the comments.
Take a look at a photo gallery of those top plays here.