ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller, who once said his job was to sack quarterbacks and tell jokes, isn’t in a jocular mood with the Denver Broncos mired in a monthlong funk.
During his weekly news conference Tuesday, Miller repeatedly promised that the Broncos (2-4) would whoop the Cardinals (1-5) Thursday night in Arizona.
“I wouldn’t say it’s a must-win,” Miller said. “We’re going to kick their (behind), though. Make sure you put that up there. We’re going to kick their (behind).”
The Broncos lost their fourth straight game on Sunday, when they became the first team in NFL history to allow back-to-back 200-yard rushers — Todd Gurley and Isaiah Crowell.
That led general manager John Elway to declare this week that the Broncos have gotten “very soft” in defending the run, reigniting an insult he used last year that didn’t sit well with the players amid a franchise-worst eight-game skid.
“The last two weeks we had a 200-yard rusher. I get where he’s coming from,” Miller said. “But that was the last two weeks. This week is totally different.”
The Broncos successfully schemed to thwart Rams QB Jared Goff, who was limited to 14 completions for 201 yards and no touchdowns to go with an interception and five sacks.
Gurley, however, capitalized on the Broncos’ heavy use of nickel defense and nose tackle Domata Peko’s worst game in his two seasons in Denver to run for a career-best 208 yards and two TDs a week after the Jets’ Crowell gashed them for 219 yards, including a 77-yard touchdown.
The Broncos’ 23-20 loss left the Rams (6-0) as the league’s last unbeaten team.
Broncos coach Vance Joseph said too many tackles and assignments were missed and challenged his team to get mentally tougher, declaring that tackling is “really mind-set and want-to.”
“Yeah, that was last week, we’re going to be better,” Miller said.
Miller insisted he wasn’t being salty.
“No, I’m not irritated,” he said. “I’m just confident.”
Miller and rookie Bradley Chubb collected 4½ sacks between them last week, but Miller insisted they hadn’t unlocked some sort of pass rush puzzle.
“No, we just got on the board,” Miller said. “And if we’re playing our best, I don’t think there’s anybody in the league that can block me and Bradley. … Especially not the Cardinals. They’re going to get our best on Thursday. They got to come with their best.”
By ARNIE STAPLETON
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