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Von Miller leaves his impact on the Chiefs-Bills rivalry

The hall of fame pass rusher made his presence known during Sunday’s 24-20 loss against the Bills.

Buffalo Bills v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

On Sunday, the Kansas City Chiefs were in a familiar situation: offense on the field, down one score against the Buffalo Bills with about a minute remaining in the game. In last season’s AFC Divisional Round matchup, that was enough time for the Chiefs to score twice and send the game to overtime, in which they secured a thrilling victory.

This time, however, the results were different. On a first-and-10 from the Kansas City 30-yard line, Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes was pressured into throwing a late-game interception that sealed Buffalo’s 24-20 victory.

The Bills knew they needed an impact player who could pressure Mahomes during these kinds of critical situations. So in the offseason, they found that player: outside linebacker (and pass-rusher extraordinaire) Von Miller.

“They just say ‘Rush,’ man,” said Miller of his role on the Buffalo defense. “That is why they brought me to the Denver Broncos and that is why they traded for me [to] the Rams last year and that is why I am here. It is in the job description.”

The Bills signed Miller to a massive six-year, $120 million deal — hoping that he was the missing piece that would take their defense to the next level. That’s just what he did on Sunday, finishing with four tackles, two sacks and five quarterback pressures — one of which resulted in the game-sealing interception by Buffalo cornerback Taron Johnson.

“I was just trying to get there,” Miller said of the Chiefs’ final play of the game. “Patrick had been doing a great job of scrambling it and getting away from us all game. In my head, I am just thinking that I have to get him down. I made an inside move and he flushed out — and we had Taron Johnson right there for the interception.”

“Yeah, you could feel him,” Buffalo head coach Sean McDermott said of Miller’s impact. “Whether or not he was actually sacking Mahomes, he was affecting him. Then he did get him a couple of times I believe. You could feel him out there the entire game. He was phenomenal.”

Mahomes and the Chiefs' offense have had plenty of experience going against Miller during his time in the AFC West with the Broncos. Mahomes knew he would have to account for Miller because of the game-wrecking impact he can have at any moment.

“He’s a great player,” Mahomes told reporters after the game. “Any time you add a great player like that — a Hall of Fame player — you have to account for him on every single play.

“I thought our offensive line did a pretty good job for the most part. They had the one at the end of the game where I held the ball too long and he sacked me. But he had the one spin move that’s like the patented Von Miller spin that he’s going to bring out at least once or twice a game that he’s kind of mastered that — I mean, it happens. But at the end of the day, how did we respond? I thought the guys responded well.”

Despite his success against the Chiefs on Sunday, Miller says it was not easy. He described the difficulty of playing against an elite quarterback like Mahomes — while praising his ability to navigate the pocket and evade tacklers.

“He is just so talented, man,” Miller said. “He is going to take what you give him. If I go up the field, he is going to step up. If you are too heavy on the power, he is going to evade and go out the back side. I really don’t know.”

Kansas City’s loss ended a personal streak against Miller. Before then, the Chiefs had won the previous nine games against the future Hall-of-Famer. That losing streak was on Miller’s mind as he once again played in Arrowhead — finally coming away with a victory to enjoy.

“I have come to this stadium a whole bunch of times — and been at this same podium — and I didn’t have a smile. So it is good to come in here and smile,” Miller said after the game. “It is good to do our job. It was a great team effort. It is my first time back here in two years. It is a great stadium, a great atmosphere.”

In the end, the Bills brought in Miller to beat the Chiefs — and in Week 6, they accomplished that goal. But Miller believes that it won’t be the last time these two teams meet.

“Yeah, we’re definitely going to see them again,” Miller said on the field at the conclusion of Sunday’s game. “This is not the end of the Mahomes and Allen era.

“It’s just an honor and a privilege to be a part of this.”

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