The Denver Broncos' formidable pass-rushing tandem of outside linebacker Von Miller and defensive end Elvis Dumervil has left a long trail of fallen quarterbacks behind them.
Relentlessly attacking the line of scrimmage, the aggressive duo has combined for 24 sacks, 76 quarterback pressures and 23 quarterback hits. Miller ranks third in the NFL with 16 sacks and has 45 quarterback pressures, while Dumervil has eight sacks and 31 pressures.
Now, Miller and Dumervil are a problem for the Ravens to deal with heading into Sunday's game at M&T Bank Stadium.
"They have serious speed and serious power," Ravens fullback Vonta Leach said. "We're going to have our hands full on the offensive side of the ball. You've got to start with protecting the quarterback."
In particular, Miller is a challenge for offensive tackles with his rare speed off the edge. The 6-foot-3, 237-pound player has run the 40-yard dash in 4.49 seconds, faster than many running backs and wide receivers.
"That's crazy," left tackle Michael Oher said of Miller. "That's unbelievable, that's awesome."
A first-round draft pick from Texas A&M, Miller was named the NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year last season and started in the Pro Bowl after tying the Broncos' franchise rookie record with 11 1/2 sacks.
Miller ranks second in the NFL with 24 tackles for loss. He had eight sacks and 10 tackles for loss in November and was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Month.
"He's a good player, he's doing great," Oher said. "We've got to slow him down. That would be great for the offense and good for everybody if we can slow him down."
The Ravens have allowed 31 sacks this season and quarterback Joe Flacco has struggled recently with pocket awareness and ball security.
Miller and Dumervil represent the gold standard for pass rushers.
"I think without question it’s an outstanding tandem, very, very unusual," new Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell said. "Typically teams may have one at the one side, and then a guy that’s maybe more of a power rusher on the other. But in terms of speed, dexterity, moves and just flat out strength, that combination is rare, those two guys. There’s obviously the two guys over at Indy, [Dwight] Freeney and [Robert] Mathis, who pose a very good combination, and these guys are equally as good.”
When asked if the Ravens will use maximum-protection schemes to keep Flacco upright, Caldwell replied: “We’ll have to do whatever it takes to make certain that we can keep things moving in the right direction.”
Dumervil is no slouch. He owns the franchise single-season record with 17 sacks in 2009, and he led the NFL that year.
Dumervil has been named to the Pro Bowl twice in the past three seasons and has 60 1/2 career sacks. He's also tied for second in the NFL with six forced fumbles.
With a low center of gravity at 5-feet-11, 260 pounds, Dumervil combines power and athleticism. He's known for his potent spin move.
"He's a good player as well," Oher said. "He's been having a pretty good year. He's going to be a challenge."