Less than 24-hours after Peyton Manning set the record for touchdowns in a season and the Broncos wrapped up the number one spot in the AFC, Broncos fans got some bad news. Von Miller, who missed the first six-games of the season due to a suspension, will miss the remainder of the season and playoffs due to an ACL tear.
The tear occurred in the first quarter of the Broncos game on Sunday against the Texans. A quite meaningless game for the Broncos, and a game they probably could’ve won without the help of their All-Pro linebacker, the injury could be disastrous for the remainder of the season for Denver.
Since Millers arrival to the league he has had 35 sacks, which is fifth most in that stretch. He has also had 28 quarterback hurries, which is good enough for second on the team despite missing the first six games of the season. However, the Broncos did go 6-0 without him to start the season, but there is no doubt that he was an integral part of the side of the ball opposite of Peyton Manning.
In his place will likely be Nate Irving or Robert Ayers. Both players helped fill the gap left by Miller at the beginning of the season, but neither one can completely fill the same role on defense that Miller typically provides. He is continually requiring defenses to change schemes and double team him, just in order to keep him from putting pressure on the quarterback. The Broncos also rank in the top-10 for rushing yards allowed with Miller manning one side of the defense.
The blow is huge to the Broncos. They will have a bye-week during the first week of the playoffs to rest the remainder of the team up. However, whoever they play in the second round will likely look to expose the departure of Miller. We will have to see if Manning can keep lighting up scoreboards and if their offense can win them games, especially if their defense can’t keep the pressure up.