Film Room: Von Miller's Dominant Performance vs. Giants Proves he's Back to Form

Von Miller returned to the field for the first time since the 2019 season last week and the version that showed up looks to be one of the best versions the Broncos have ever seen.
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The Denver Broncos defeated the New York Giants 27-13 thanks in large part to the play of their defense. There were a couple of defenders who made the lives of the Giants' offensive line miserable during the game.  

One such player was Broncos' defensive tackle Dre'Mont Jones, who lived in the backfield. But the story of the day? Von Miller returned to the field in a big way.

With this being Miller's first game action since 2019, it was impressive how good he would look. It's safe to say that Miller is back and is poised to have a big year. 

The eight-time Pro Bowler's get-off is as fast as ever, and he is as disciplined as always. Week 1 was an outstanding return for the veteran edge rusher and one that was worth breaking down on film. 

Play 1: First Quarter | 14:54 

Situation: 1st-&-10

This one may not come off as something great but Miller kept this from being a big play. The Giants are looking to run inside, but if the bounce lane is there to take outside, the running back is supposed to take it. Miller, who doesn't get blocked, can keep the running back inside while Jones shoots the gap to cause disruption. 

This is a veteran, disciplined play by Miller to not cut inside right away or rely on the disruption from Jones to keep the play contained. Far too often, younger players will do just that and leave the outside bounce lane wide open for the running back to hit. With how empty the area was, it could've gone for a huge gain if Miller didn't stick to his gaps. 

While this isn't the flashiest of plays by Miller, it is one of his best of the day, and it was something so small and simple on the surface. For years, he has been underrated for his run defense, but he has been great in that department for the majority of his career. In addition, he is one of the most complete edge rushers in the NFL. 

Play 2: First Quarter | 13:54 

Situation: 1st-&-10

It hardly ever works out when using a tight end to block elite edge rushers. The Giants are trying to spice things up with an end-around, but they have a tight end blocking Miller. By the time the wide receiver gets the ball, Miller is already behind the line of scrimmage. 

There was nothing the receiver could have done here because just after he gets the ball, Miller is a yard away and closing in. Von then slows things down and plays reactionary to what the ball-carrier does. 

The worst thing Miller could have done here was try and guess whether the ball-carrier would cut it inside or take it outside and be wrong. By slowing down and waiting for the ball-carrier to make the decision, he can react and make the play. 

Play 3: First Quarter | 7:57 

Situation: 3rd-&-2

Right tackle Nate Solder seemed a little scared of taking Miller on here. Solder's feet were choppy and he never settled into an actual pass set. Another problem with Solder is he didn't keep his butt on the quarterback, putting him in a terrible position by leaving the inside lane easily exploitable. As an offensive lineman, you never want to leave the inside lane susceptible because it's the quickest path to the quarterback. 

With his quickness and upper-body power, Miller does a good job keeping Solder off of him while he attacks the inside line. There isn't some brilliant pass rush move from Miller, except his extension, and with a quick disengage, he gets to Daniel Jones for the sack. This type of play really shows how dangerous Miller and Jones can be together coming off the same side. 

Facing off against the right guard, Jones gets under his pads and drives him back. This keeps the quarterback from being able to climb the pocket. The only avenue of escape was off the left tackle, but Malik Reed was set up there. Jones and Miller should combine for multiple huge plays like this season. 

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Play 4: Second Quarter | 10:36 

Situation: 2nd-&-4

This run defense from Miller is another overlooked aspect that plays a huge role. The Giants are trying to get this run outside the tackles and attack the boundary. There is a tight end as the lead blocker, who is tasked with Miller, which, as we saw earlier, doesn't bode well. 

Miller gets under the tight end's pads and drives forward to keep the running back from getting to the boundary. The ball-carrier has to cut it back inside or risk a huge loss from a tackle by Miller. When the ball does get cut back inside, Jones is right there waiting for him after easily beating the offensive lineman tasked with blocking him. 

Play 5: Fourth Quarter | 3:09 

Situation: 3rd-&-10

This wasn't a great play by Miller, but it really shows how quickly he can get off. The biggest component to Miller getting this sack was how late off the snap the right tackle is. 

By the time the tackle starts getting into his set, Miller is already two yards behind the line of scrimmage and parallel to the tackle. From there, it was a simple matter of closing on the quarterback and notching Miller his second sack of the day. 

The Takeaway

This was an outstanding game from Miller in his return to the Broncos. The Miller/Jones duo will be devastating for opposing offensive lines, which will become even more dangerous when Bradley Chubb heals up from his ankle injury. 

There's no question how much of an impact Miller's return has on the rest of the defense. 


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