CENTENNIAL, Colo. -- Von Miller didn't dance Sunday. He posted three sacks in arguably the best regular-season game of his career, yet there were no funky gyrations.
"Sometimes you work so hard to get to the quarterback -- you go through two or three guys -- that when you get there all you want to do is raise your fist," Miller explained to Denver7. "I haven't stopped dancing. It just didn't happen this time."
Sacks won't get any easier for Miller with the loss of veteran teammate DeMarcus Ware. Ware will miss four-to-five weeks with a broken right forearm. He will undergo surgery Tuesday to insert a plate to promote healing.
"He's a pro. He will be back and stronger than ever," Miller said.
The time off isn't the worst thing for a 34-year-old who has dealt with a lingering bulging disc injury in his back. He can get right, get healed and, be strong for the "stretch run," as Miller said. Or as cornerback Chris Harris put it: "They key is we want Ware in the playoffs coming a 100-miles per hour off the end."
Ware's injury creates opportunity. Shane Ray played a career-high 45 snaps Sunday, just missing out on two sacks in his estimation. He scored a touchdown on a fumble recovery, a football that will be displayed in his basement. Shaquil Barrett, a former star at Colorado State, burst onto the scene last season while filling in for Ware. He posted 5.5 sacks in limited duty. Barrett said he's no longer a one-trick pony as a rusher, adding moves at the advice of Ware and Miller. Ray has added eight pounds of muscle and is noticeably faster and stronger than last season.
"I am going to be aggressive. I am getting smarter about it, but that's how I play," Ray said. "It's up to me to live up to my expectations and the expectations my teammates have for me."
Miller has tutored Ray and Barrett. He refers to them as his "kids." They have a larger platform from which to contribute, beginning in the difficult environment at Cincinnati.
"It's their time to show they should be starters in this league," Miller said. "They are both talented and have worked hard."