His 14 sacks this season put his career total at 49, ranking him sixth most all-time in a player's first four seasons in the NFL. Imagine where those sack totals would be, had he not been suspended and hurt for much of the 2013 season.
His 2014 performance speaks for itself. He was elected to the Pro Bowl for the third time in his career and he also earned All-Pro honors again.
“That is every week," Miller said today. "You want to affect the quarterback. You just don’t want to have it seven on seven. We have great cornerbacks—probably the best cornerbacks in the league—but if you have them out there covering all day, somebody can slip open. So our job is to pressure him. We’ve got great cornerbacks that are going to do their job out there and we’ve just got to do our job of trying to pressure those guys and make them throw some passes sooner than he really wants to.”
Luck excels at extending the play, getting outside the pocket, which buys his receivers time to get open down-field, as exemplified by his jaw-dropping 36-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief last week vs. the Cincinnati Bengals in the Wild Card round.
Miller and his fellow sack artist teammate, DeMarcus Ware, have the primary responsibility of getting to Luck early and collapsing the pocket. Ware posted his eighth season with double-digit sacks in 2014, earning yet another trip to the Pro Bowl.
When these two are in the zone, there isn't a better pass rushing duo in the league. But some would argue that they faltered down the stretch, combining for just two sacks, over the last four games of the season, both from Miller.
With the Broncos in the NFL playoff tournament, Miller knows that he has to crank his intensity up a notch and forget about any perceived failures in the past.
“It’s three different speeds in the league," Miller said. "You’ve got the preseason with our preseason games and training camp, you’ve got the regular season, which is a totally different speed, and you’ve got the postseason. This is for all the marbles, single-elimination. You don’t get any other chances. You have to be on when it comes game time. You’ve got to be on all night for three games straight to win the Super Bowl and that is where our mindset is. We’ve got to be on for this game right here, take it one play at a time and I feel good with the guys we’ve got in the locker room.”
Miller missed out on the playoffs last season, having torn his ACL in Week 16 vs. the Houston Texans. Like his teammate, Rahim Moore, Miller relishes the opportunity to compete for "all the marbles" and contribute to what he and the Broncos hope will be another deep playoff run.
“I’m super excited," Miller said. "I haven’t played in a playoff game in two years, so I haven’t gotten to feel that different speed. But I’m definitely feeling it now. We had a great practice today and I’m excited. I’m excited to go out there with my guys and excited to go out there and do something special with them.”
Win on Sunday and the season goes on. Lose, and become relegated to spectator status for the balance of the playoffs and Super Bowl. Miller knows the opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl in the post-season is a rare one and should be appreciated. He's not looking beyond January 11th.
“We’ve got to take advantage of what we have today," he said. "This is our opportunity. We’re fortunate to be back in this situation from last year, and the year before and the year before that. We’ve got to take advantage of the opportunity now, and that’s where everybody’s mindset is at.”
Sacks often come in bunches for elite pass rushers. On Sunday, vs. Luck and the Colts, perhaps we'll see Miller add a few more notches to his belt and propel the Broncos beyond the Divisional Round.
First thing's first. The Broncos have to take care of business at home vs. one of the best teams in the National Football League.