Von Miller has suffered a torn ACL, which has effectively ended his season, severely hampering the Buffalo Bills’ chances of reaching the Super Bowl.
In the offseason Miller was signed to bring the one thing the Bills defense has been missing, pass rush pressure. While the unit finished No. 1 in the league last season their pressure rate and sacks ranked in the bottom half of the league. The unit is fourth overall this season, but they rank in the top half in sacks, and are fifth in pressures. A direct result of Miller’s effect on opposing offenses.
Bills Defense Loses Von Miller For Season
The future Hall of Famer has only tallied eight sacks but is tied for fourth in the league in pressure rate. That stat alone is a huge reason for the Bills defense being so opportunistic.
With the swelling subsiding and a knee scope now able to be done, Bills GM Brandon Beane told reporters that he prepared for the worst.
“I knew Monday night that this was a real potential, you know, crossing our fingers. We were hopeful that it was a scope to clean the meniscus and and scar tissue in there. But unfortunately, when Dr. Cooper went in there yesterday — he did the surgery sometime yesterday afternoon — when he went in there yesterday afternoon, he decided that it would not be stable enough, it would not hold up, and that a full repair was needed.”
It’s a huge blow for a Bills team that believed Miller was the piece that would put them over the top in the AFC.
No Von Miller, No Bills Super Bowl?
When you’re making over $20 million per season not even a season-ending injury can dampen your spirit. Miller seemed as upbeat as ever. The former All-Pro also said mentally he’s in a good space, and he’s confident he’ll come back better than ever.
— Von Miller (@VonMiller) December 7, 2022
That’s a lot of optimism for a legend late in his career who is preparing to go through a long and rigorous rehab. Guys like former first-round pick Greg Rousseau and second-round picks AJ Epenesa and Carlos “Boogie” Basham will be expected to step up in Miller’s absence.
After Miller, Rousseau is the team’s most effective rusher, and he knows he’ll be asked to apply pressure without defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier bringing extra guys to get to the quarterback.
“It’s tough when you lose a really good player like Von, you know, but we got a lot of guys in the room and we all just need to step up. We’re all ready for the opportunity to step up. It’s unfortunate, but I know I’ll be praying for Von, and I’m wishing him a speedy recovery cause that’s our guy. We love Von, he’s a brother to us, so it’s sad to see him, see that he’s not going to be out there no more, but it’s like, we got to step up, there’s no time for us to feel sorry for ourselves or none of that.”
— NFL on CBS 🏈 (@NFLonCBS) November 6, 2022
Can Bills Win In Playoffs Without Von Miller?
In a conference that boasts QBs like Patrick Mahomes, Joe Burrow, Tua Tagovailoa and others, the absence of Miller will be felt come the postseason. The Bills’ last two heartbreaking playoff losses were at the hand of the Kansas City Chiefs. Buffalo’s inability to apply any disruptive pressure on Mahomes was key. That’s what the addition of Miller was supposed to tighten up.
The Bills defense still has plenty of talent, but the loss of Miller is going to be tough to overcome against the NFL’s elite teams and quarterbacks. Buffalo has a tough AFC East division matchup against the scrappy New York Jets on Sunday. It’ll be up to head coach Sean McDermott and the aforementioned Frazier — two defensive masterminds — to devise a plan to make up for the loss of Miller.