- Associated Press - Thursday, November 24, 2011

ENGLEWOOD, COLO. (AP) - Forget Tim Tebow for just a moment. It’s Miller Time in Denver.

Broncos linebacker Von Miller, the second overall selection in the draft, has led Denver’s defensive revival along with pass-rushing partner Elvis Dumervil.

The duo has been collecting sacks and crumpling quarterbacks at a prolific pace over the last three weeks, battering Carson Palmer, Matt Cassel and Mark Sanchez in wins over the Raiders, Chiefs and Jets.

They’ve combined for seven sacks over that span and have become the first pair of teammates in more than a decade to share a QB sandwich sack in three straight games.


With Dumervil full speed again after dealing with nagging shoulder and ankle ailments, he and Miller have finally been able to unleash a potent 1-2 punch that Miller has dubbed “Batman and Robin.”

Miller’s best game came last week against the Jets, when he had 10 tackles, nine of them solo, including 1 1/2 sacks and three tackles for loss to go with a forced fumble and a pass breakup.

It also earned him his first AFC Defensive Player of the Week honor.

“I think it means a lot more to my teammates than it does to me,” Miller said. “I feel like it’s a sign of the type of defense that we’ve been playing. … I feel like they had to give it to somebody, so they just gave it to me, but we’ve been playing such good defense, anybody on the defense could have gotten it.”

Indeed, Denver’s defense is the under-told story in the Broncos’ return to respectability. At 5-5, they’re a game behind Oakland in the AFC West race heading into Sunday’s showdown at San Diego.

If not for the Broncos’ stingy defense that’s finally jelling under Dennis Allen, the team’s sixth defensive coordinator in as many seasons, all those fourth-quarter comebacks engineered by Tebow wouldn’t have been possible.

“One thing about that quarterback: he’s going to keep grinding, and as a defense, we’ve just got to keep the team in the game, because in the fourth quarter, you never know what you’re going to get,” cornerback Champ Bailey said. “We’re never out of it. It’s a good feeling, because I know if we’re close, we’ve got a chance.”

Without any offseason because of the lockout, Allen’s scheme took some time to take hold, and it’s congealing just as Dumervil, Bailey, D.J. Williams and Marcus Thomas have hit stride after dealing with injuries during the first half of the season.

Allen is starting to throw more at his players, who are creating more and more mayhem for quarterbacks.

“We’ve been able to add more things the last couple weeks,” safety Brian Dawkins said. “I think early on we were making too many mental mistakes and giving up too many big plays down the field. Obviously as a D-coordinator, you’re not going to be amped to call things if you think mistakes are going to be made. I think that him seeing we’ve picked up the things we needed to pick up and communicating on a better level now, and understanding what he wants in the basic scheme of things, he’s able to add more.

“And adding those things is adding more pressure on the offenses, because we’re able to do more things and send more attacks at them. I’m liking where we’re headed.”

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