Broncos pass-rushing duo credits Del Rio, Manning


Broncos pass-rushing duo credits Del Rio, Manning

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) The Denver Broncos lead the NFL with 48 sacks, and all those crumpled quarterbacks in their wake can blame not only Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller but also Jack Del Rio and Peyton Manning.

Dumervil and Miller have 28 1/2 sacks, earning the league's most prolific pass-rushing tandem return trips to the Pro Bowl - although they're determined to spend all-star weekend preparing for the Super Bowl in New Orleans rather than enjoying the sand, surf and sun.

Miller's freakish athletic ability and Dumervil's extraordinarily long arms that give him built-in leverage on every tackle are two of the biggest reasons for the Broncos' league-best 10-game winning streak.

In their eyes, though, the credit for all these sacks goes to the team's two biggest offseason additions, Del Rio and Manning, who embarked on comebacks in Colorado after messy exits from their former teams.

When Manning arrived from Indianapolis in March, Miller envisioned the four-time MVP leading those famous clock-chewing drives that would allow the Broncos to turn loose their ``Orange Rush'' answer to Indy's Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis come the fourth quarter.

``We wanted to be the best together, me and Elvis, and when we picked up Peyton Manning, we knew we had a chance to get it done,'' Miller said. ``If we could get up a little bit, that allows us to do what we do best.''

When Del Rio became Denver's seventh defensive coordinator in seven seasons following his firing as Jacksonville's head coach, Dumervil imagined the former linebacker's reputed run-stuffing defenses enabling the Broncos to get after quarterbacks long before the fourth quarter rolled around.

``Peyton coming here, it was big, but if you stop the run like Jack's teams did in Jacksonville, you get a chance to rush the passer,'' Dumervil said.

Turns out both were right.

Teams no longer run roughshod over the Broncos, who rank third in the league against the run a year after ranking 22nd. They get after the quarterback better than anyone and they rank sixth against the pass after finishing 18th last year. So, it's no surprise they're rolling toward the playoffs as the Super Bowl oddsmakers' latest sweetheart.

``Von is a special talent,'' cornerback Champ Bailey said. ``You always have to know where he is. And when you find out where he is, here comes the other guy.''

Miller is just the second player since the league started tracking forced fumbles in 1994 to have a season in which he racked up at least 15 sacks, 25 tackles for loss and forced five fumbles. The only other player to do it was Dallas' DeMarcus Ware in 2008.

Dumervil leads the league with six strip-sacks, and Miller has four.

``We definitely want to rake the ball,'' Del Rio said. ``Those can be game-changing plays.''

Dumervil was the first to hug Miller, who has 17 1/2 sacks, last week when he broke his single-season franchise record of 17.

``He's a special guy,'' Dumervil said. ``If there's anybody I'd be happy and proud of for breaking the record, it would definitely be Von.''

Left tackle Ryan Clady said facing Dumervil and Miller in training camp was the best preparation he could have hoped for as he prepared to protect Manning's blind side.

``No question, going against Elvis and Von, they're great players, Pro Bowl players, and it elevates my game,'' Clady said.

``Doom & Gloom,'' as they are known, provided a taste of what was in store with 21 combined sacks last season despite playing one-armed for much of the time.

Dumervil was dogged by an injured left shoulder last year before collecting all 9 1/2 of his sacks in the final eight games. Miller, last year's Defensive Rookie of the Year, did most of his damage before playing the last two months with a cumbersome cast that covered his broken right thumb and prevented him from grabbing and shedding offensive linemen.

Miller and Dumervil were teasing each other Thursday in the locker room about selfishly stealing the other's sacks, but in truth, they appreciate having the other on the field, healthy and hearty again.

And they love having Manning and Del Rio on their side, too.

``I think the biggest thing, a lot of people don't realize, is when you stop the run, it gives you a second-and-8 or a third-and-long. In previous years, it was second-and-3, third-and-3, the ball comes out quicker, your chances of rushing is not the same,'' Dumervil said. ``So, having Peyton definitely gives you the lead more toward the end of the game, but the early first three quarters sacks come from stopping the run.''

Dumervil and Miller have both rounded out their games under Del Rio's tutelage, combining with the likes of Justin Bannan, Mitch Unrein and Kevin Vickerson to stuff ball carriers as much as they chase down QBs.

``Coach Del Rio is like a wizard,'' Miller said of the man who's moved him up and down the line, sometimes lining him up alongside Dumervil in what has to be an offensive lineman's biggest nightmare.

Others have also benefited from Del Rio's schemes. Linebacker Wesley Woodyard (5 1/2) and cornerback Chris Harris (2 1/2) have career highs in sacks, while Vickerson (2) and safety Mike Adams (1) tied their career bests, and rookie tackle Derek Wolfe has five.

Dumervil and Miller, though, have done the heavy lifting for the Broncos, whose 48 sacks are the team's most since 1999.

``I'm always patting them on the back, because without them, we'd be nothing back there,'' Bailey said of Denver's star-studded secondary. ``Those guys, they make it easier for us. It'd be a lot of work for us if they weren't getting pressure. I think that's what really makes a good secondary - is your pass rush.''

The ingredients for that superb pass rush are Dumervil, Miller, Del Rio and Manning.

Notes: The Broncos have a tough test coming up Sunday even though the Chiefs (2-13) are ranked dead last in the AP Pro32 rankings and Denver is ranked first. RB Jamaal Charles ran for 226 yards last week in a game in which the Chiefs piled up 352 yards on the Colts' backpedaling defense and still lost. ``That's a crazy kind of number on the ground in this day and age where it's a so-called passing league,'' Vickerson said. ... RG Chris Kuper (migraine, ankle) returned to practice on a limited basis. WR Brandon Stokley (thigh) also was limited.


Online:http://pro32.ap.org/poll andhttp://twitter.com/AP-NFL


Follow Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter:http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest

Bradley Beal eliminated in first round of three-point contest

It was a short night for Wizards guard Bradley Beal in the 2018 All-Star three-point contest on Saturday, as he was eliminated in the first round.

Wearing the Wizards' new 'The District' white alternate jersey, Beal shot a 15 and fell short of the top three spots to qualify for the second round. Suns guard Devin Booker won the contest with a 28 score in the final, beating out Klay Thompson of the Warriors and Tobias Harris of the Clippers.


Beal's was undone by a slow start. He missed all five shots on the first rack and made just one on the second. He began to heat up at the third rack, but by then couldn't recover.

Here is Beal's full round:

This was Beal's second showing in the three-point contest. He finished second back in 2014 and this year said he was motivated to avenge that loss. He should have plenty more opportunities to participate in the future if he chooses.

The NBA's All-Star Saturday night began with Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie winning the skills competition. He beat Bulls big man Lauri Markkanen in the final round.


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Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread


Game 58: Capitals at Blackhawks Date, Time, How to Watch, Game Thread

What: Washington Capitals vs. Chicago Blackhawks

Where: United Center, Chicago, Ill.

When: 8:30 p.m. ET

How to Watch: Capitals-Blackhawks will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Live Stream: You can watch the Capitals-Blackhawks game on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page.

You can also stream the game online with no cable TV subscription on fuboTV (try for free!).


The Capitals (33-17-7) take on the Blackhawks (24-26-8) Saturday, February 17 at 8:30 p.m. ET in Chicago.


The Capitals-Blackhawks game will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington. Coverage kicks off with Capitals FaceOff at 7:30 p.m. followed by Caps GameTime at 8:00 p.m. Stay with NBC Sports Washington for Caps Extra following the game, Caps Overtime at 11:30 p.m. and Caps in 30 at 12:30 a.m. for all your postgame coverage. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

7:30 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
8:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:30 p.m. — Capitals at Blackhawks
11:00 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime
12:30 a.m. — Caps in 30


Here are the projected lines for the Caps-Blackhawks game:

Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - Tom Wilson
Alex Chiasson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - T.J. Oshie
Brett Connolly - Lars Eller - Andre Burakovsky
Chandler Stephenson - Jay Beagle - Devante Smith-Pelly

Christian Djoos - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Madison Bowey

Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches: Jakub Vrana, Taylor Chorney


The Capitals-Blackhawks game, as well as Caps GameTime and Caps Extra, is available to stream live here through NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and is available to authenticated NBC Sports Washington subscribers on desktops, tablets, mobile devices and connected TVs anywhere in the United States.

The game is also available to stream, along with all the pregame and postgame shows, on fuboTV (try for free).


Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals correspondent JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.