Broncos’ Von Miller disrupts Panthers with pressure, turnovers

Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller holds the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl 50. Miller was selected as MVP.
Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller holds the Lombardi Trophy after Super Bowl 50. Miller was selected as MVP. AP

Von Miller is scheduled to become a free agent in March. As if the Broncos needed another reason to open the bank for the All-Pro linebacker, the former Texas A&M star gave them one.

Super Bowl MVP.

The Denver Broncos’ defense dominated the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50 and Miller served as the leader of the Orange Rush.

He became only the 10th defensive player to win the award.

“It just shows the type of defense we’ve been playing,” Miller said. “It’s honestly not about me. If I could cut this award and give it to DeMarcus [Ware] and all the other guys, that’s what I would do. This is great, but for me, I want to be with my guys. I will take the ring.”

Miller finished with six tackles, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, a defensed pass and two hurries.

The Broncos scored a touchdown on Miller’s first forced fumble only 8:33 into the game as Malik Jackson fell on the loose ball in the end zone. Miller set up the offense for a 4-yard touchdown drive to ice the game with 3:08 remaining with a second forced fumble against Cam Newton.

“Von earned it,” Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning said. “He played awesome. I’m just glad I played on the same team with that defense.”

Carolina right tackle Mike Remmers, who allowed 5.5 sacks during the regular season but none in the postseason, was in over his head against Miller.

“He played a heck of a football game,” Panthers coach Ron Rivera said. “I believe he was the MVP and deservedly so.”

Miller led the Broncos with 11 sacks during the regular season.

In the AFC Championship Game, he turned in one of the greatest defensive performances in postseason history. Miller played 65 snaps, making five tackles, including two for loss, with 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hits, a defensed pass and an interception.

Patriots quarterback Tom Brady took a beating, enduring 20 hits in 60 drop-backs.

Newton now knows that feeling. He took six sacks and was hit 13 times.

Miller might have been even better Sunday than he was two weeks ago.

“He’s awesome,” defensive coordinator Wade Phillips said.

Miller, 26, likely becomes the highest-paid player in team history sometime in the off-season. He will receive a contract similar to the six-year, $101 million deal linebacker Justin Houston signed with the Chiefs last summer, which included $52.5 million in guarantees.

His Super Bowl MVP award says he belongs.

Charean Williams: 817-390-7760, @NFLCharean

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