Bulky cast, injured thumb slowing Broncos’ Miller

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ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller has sparked Denver’s defense this season just as Tim Tebow has energized the Broncos’ offense.

Like Tebow, he’s fading at the finish.

The outside linebacker and No. 2 overall pick in the draft looked like a lock for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors when he collected 1012 sacks in his first 10 games.

Then, at the end of his best performance yet, a 10-tackle masterpiece at San Diego, Miller tore ligaments in his right thumb making a big play against the Chargers on Nov. 27.

He hasn’t nearly as troublesome since, collecting just a single sack this month while San Francisco’s Aldon Smith closes in on Jevon Kearse’s rookie record of 1412 sacks.