ENGLEWOOD — Von Miller has become the “Peanut” Tillman of pass rushers.
Tillman was a Chicago Bears cornerback for 12 of his 13 playing seasons who from 2003-2015 recorded an astounding 44 forced fumbles. Tillman’s technique was the “Peanut Punch” at the ball.
Miller just grabs it. He forced 22 fumbles in seven seasons, then had two more in the opener of season 8 last Sunday against Seattle. Then there were arguably the two most significant forced fumbles in NFL history – his two strip sacks of Cam Newton that led to two touchdowns in Super Bowl 50.
Where did Miller learn his ball-stripping technique?
“I don’t know,’’ he said with a laugh. “I mean, especially in my position, if I can’t be effective rushing the passer, if I’m not rushing the passer, then it immediately goes to ‘How can I be effective on this play?’
And they run the ball away so many times, so it’s like, when the ball is close to me, I’ve got to find a way to make some type of play. I was just fortunate to make that play on Sunday.”
He was referring to his third quarter play when Seattle running back Chris Carson had just picked up a first down and was running for more when Miller reached in with two hands and pulled the ball away from the ball carrier.