On March 16, the Buffalo Bills signed outside linebacker Von Miller to make game-changing plays in crucial moments and to be an influential leader on the sidelines during the heat of the game. And seven months later, Miller was one of the key defensive difference-makers who helped his team secure the 24-20 victory against the rivaled Kansas City Chiefs.
"He's a Hall of Famer," CB Taron Johnson said. "We're extremely blessed to have him on our team. Just having him alone is special for our defense."
Sunday marked the 19th time the veteran pass rusher has faced the Chiefs during his NFL career and with his two sacks on QB Patrick Mahomes in the AFC rematch game, Miller now has a career total of 15 sacks on the Chiefs and has extended his sack streak to three games.
"You could feel him," head coach Sean McDermott said. "Whether or not he was actually sacking Mahomes, he was affecting him, and then he did get him a couple of times. He was phenomenal."
After the Bills took the 24-20 lead on a TE Dawson Knox touchdown catch in the end zone with 1:04 to play, wide receiver Stefon Diggs found Miller on the sideline right after the score and said three words to him that came into existence just a few plays later: "finish the game."
Miller, who had four tackles on the day, listened to Diggs and did just that when he became the biggest threat on the field during the Chiefs' final possession of the game.
"He's a hell of a player, he's a superstar," Diggs said "He's one of those guys that you lean on. I don't want to compare us to the Dream Team, that was a hell of a team, but Von is that guy we'll lean on, and those players that we needed to make big plays when it matters most, and he did that."
Miller's goal on every play is getting to the quarterback, which is what he was trying to accomplish with just under one minute left in the game on the scrambling Mahomes, who was successful in getting away from the Bills defense throughout most of the game. But the powerful inside pressure of the linebacker was enough to force Mahomes out of the pocket which ultimately led to Johnson swooping in for the game-winning interception.
"In my head, I'm thinking I just have to get him down," Miller said. "Made an inside move, he flushed out, and we had Taron Johnson right there for the interception. A great team play, it just feels good to go out there and do your job."
Just two possessions prior to the INT, Miller created pressure and chased Mahomes down on 3rd down to force a field goal and then sacked the quarterback on 3rd down on the next drive to force a punt and give the Bills offense a chance to win it. It's exactly the type of game-altering plays the Bills hoped they'd get from Miller.
"Play speaks for itself," QB Josh Allen said. "I'm sitting on the sidelines third down, 'Come on Von, come on Von.' Sure enough, he goes out there and makes a bunch of plays."
"As you saw today, he changed the game, basically with the couple of sacks he had and a couple of pressures," LB Matt Milano added. "Any additions that can impact the game of that caliber is tremendous."
After 12 years of playing in the NFL, Miller has experienced it all, from winning the Super Bowl to dealing with heartbreaking losses. And knowing the emotions that come with playing the sport, Miller provided motivation to the sideline through the momentum swings of the game as a reminder that the game wasn't over.
Safety Jordan Poyer said that Miller brought everything to their team on Sunday with his energy, enthusiasm, trust, and belief.
"He was walking down the sideline saying, 'We got this, believe, believe, believe,'" Poyer said. "Making sure that everyone has the confidence that we're a good football team. That's just what he brings. Plus, he's one of the best players in the NFL, that helps too."
Following the win, Miller shared that while he's been to Arrowhead Stadium many times before, he can't remember the last time the locker room was filled with that many smiles. It's safe to say when he thinks back on this win, the excitement throughout the locker room won't be forgotten.
"It was a hard-fought game today, and it came out to the very end like we expected it," Miller said. "It was a great team win for the Buffalo Bills and we're going to celebrate this one."
Check out the best sights from the sideline and locker room following the four-point win over the Chiefs in Kansas City.