DENVER — For Von Miller, 32 is the new 21.
Now in his 11th NFL season, the 32-year-old outside linebacker doesn't look as old as he is through three games. Miller, who's coming off a season-ending ankle injury in 2020, has four sacks in the Broncos' first three games, picking up his fourth Sunday in a 26-0 win over the Jets.
“I feel like you have to keep evolving," said Miller, who now has 110 sacks in his career. "If you look at all the greats that played 12, 14, 16, 20 years — you just have to keep evolving. You can’t go off of your base self from years before. You have to keep evolving with the game, and I feel like I have done that.”
Miller is currently on pace to have 23 sacks this season, which would be the most of his career. While that may be a difficult number to obtain, he does appear to be well on his way to a double-digit sack season for the first time since 2018.
"I think he's picked up where I thought he would have been last year," coach Vic Fangio said. "He's focused and he knows that I see a more mature player, a guy that is really wanting to play football, and enjoying it."
Here are the other subplots from Sunday's game:
Patrick's big day. WR Tim Patrick continued his stellar play this season, catching five passes for 98 yards. Said Fangio: “I think Tim is a really good receiver — I always have. He caught the 50/50 balls and caught the balls inside the hash and inside the numbers — wrangled them. Tim's a damn good NFL receiver.”
Hamler's injury. Unfortunately for the Broncos, they lost another starting wide receiver Sunday as KJ Hamler suffered a knee injury in the second quarter. It's not clear how long he'll be out. Said quarterback Teddy Bridgewater: "I just saw him make a tough catch for us, and I think maybe when he hit the ground it just shocked him and everything, let the ball go. The most important thing is his health, so it’s tough seeing a guy who is a competitor who works so hard and gets his opportunity and something like that happens, man it’s very tough."
Muti, Meinerz relied on. On top of Hamler's injury, starting guards Graham Glasgow (knee) and Dalton Risner (foot) also left the game with injuries. This meant rookie Quinn Meinerz and second-year lineman Netane Muti to play most of the second half. Said Bridgewater: "Quinn and Muti, those guys did a great job of coming in and, you know, not blinking. Obviously, you don’t have time to blink. You know, it’s next-man-up sometimes, and those guys did a great job of executing."
Struggles in the red zone. If there's one area the Broncos struggled Sunday, it was in the red zone, having to settle for a field goal and fumbling once inside the 20-yard-line. Said Fangio: "That’s concerning, and it’s frustrating. It pisses you off when it happens, but we’ve been much better in the red zone this year overall. Obviously today we had to settle for the field goal the one time and then we fumbled one time, but I feel a lot better about our red zone offense.”