DENVER — Passing by Peyton. Dancing by Von.
On the day Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes and drew even with John Elway in the career win column, it was Broncos linebacker Von Miller who stole the show — not only with the three sacks and two forced fumbles that rattled Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, but with the ever-evolving sack dance he uses to celebrate.
“You’ve got to show some excitement when you make a play,” Miller said after spearheading a 30-23 victory Sunday that gave Denver a three-game lead over San Diego in the AFC West. “It’s hard enough as it is out there.”
But the Broncos (7-3) are making this look easy.
With their fifth straight win, they now have a three-game lead plus the tiebreaker over the rapidly fading Chargers (4-6), who lost their fifth of six and are now playing as much for jobs — namely coach Norv Turner’s — as a playoff spot.
“They’re not losing four of six, I can guarantee you that,” Rivers said of the Broncos, in essence conceding the division race.
Manning tied Elway with 148 career regular-season victories, second place on the all-time list of starting quarterbacks, with Brett Favre still 38 wins ahead.
And Miller? He now leads the league in sacks with 13, after jumping ahead of Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who had one in Houston’s win over Jacksonville on Sunday to reach 11 1/2 for the year.
Miller celebrated his first sack with a pair of somersaults, then by getting up and doing jumping jacks with his arms bent at the elbow while he moved to the imaginary music. He said he was inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog, a character in a video game.
His teammates are every bit as impressed with the production as the celebrations.
Miller’s disruptiveness contributed to what was, overall, a choppy day for both quarterbacks.