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Manning leads Broncos past Chargers

Oct 24, 2014 - 7:12 AM Denver, CO ( - Peyton Manning didn't have much time to savor his latest NFL record for career touchdown passes, but he added to that record on Thursday night.

Manning threw three touchdown passes to Emmanuel Sanders in the Denver Broncos' 35-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

The reigning and five-time NFL MVP broke Brett Favre's record for most career touchdown passes in a 42-17 rout of the San Francisco 49ers last Sunday. On Thursday, Manning completed 25-of-35 passes for 286 yards and three touchdowns to bring his career TD total to 513.

Manning was not happy with the scoreboard operator late in the fourth quarter.

"I have no problem with our fans. Our fans are great. I've got a problem with our scoreboard operator," Manning said. "I'm gonna have a little talk with him. I'm not sure what he's doing.

"He was playing music, showing people -- showing players dancing, getting the crowd fired up while we had the ball. I don't think we should be doing that. I don't think we should be showing their quarterback on the sideline. I thought that was kind of disrespectful. Our fans are great, our fans are loud, so the scoreboard operators ... it wasn't his best night."

Sanders caught nine passes for 120 yards for the Broncos (6-1), who have won four in a row. Demaryius Thomas caught eight passes for 105 yards.

"Every week we don't know where the ball is going to go," Sanders said. "The defense really dictates that and what Peyton is seeing. And tonight was just my night."

Ronnie Hillman carried the ball 20 times for 109 yards and Juwan Thompson rushed for 24 yards and two scores on seven carries.

Philip Rivers connected on 30-of-41 passes for 252 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for the Chargers (5-3), who have lost two straight since a five-game winning streak.

Keenan Allen caught nine passes for 73 yards and a score for San Diego. Antonio Gates became the franchise's all-time leader in receiving yards after catching five passes for 54 yards and two touchdowns.

Last season in week 15, San Diego came away with a 27-20 win in Denver. However, the Broncos eliminated the Chargers from the playoffs a month later.

After each team punted twice to start the game, the Broncos started from their own 31-yard line. Sanders and Thomas caught passes of 38 and 16 yards to move the ball to the San Diego 2-yard line. On 3rd-and-goal, Manning rolled to his right and found Sanders in the back of the end zone with 13:35 remaining in the second quarter.

The Chargers answered with a touchdown of their own following a punt from each team. A defensive pass interference penalty on 3rd-and-6 allowed San Diego to pick up a first down. Allen caught two passes to account for 23 yards before Eddie Royal made a 15-yard catch. Gates moved the chains with a 31-yard grab on 3rd-and-20, and Allen capped the 13-play series with a 2-yard TD catch.

San Diego almost got the ball right back when Andre Caldwell lost control of the football on the ensuing kickoff. Replay showed Caldwell's elbow hit the ground first and the initial call of a fumble was reversed. Denver found the end zone eight plays later, as Manning hooked up with Sanders for a 31-yard score.

Denver cornerback Chris Harris Jr. picked off Rivers on the opening possession of the second half. The Broncos quickly moved the ball to the San Diego 30- yard line thanks to linebacker Donald Butler being called for unnecessary roughness. Hillman's 16-yard catch ended with him stepping out at the 3-yard line. Sanders followed with his third touchdown catch of the game to make it 21-7 with 10:53 left in the third stanza.

"We can't give a good football team like the Denver Broncos the opportunities we gave them," Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. "That span there of a big touchdown at the end of the half, turnover to start the second half and then points for them. Once we settled down we got back in rhythm a little bit. But that's a good football team and we gave them too many opportunities."

The home team scored another touchdown on its next possession to essentially seal the game. After Hillman had a 33-yard TD run called back due to offensive holding, the Chargers were called for defensive pass interference. Thompson rumbled into the end zone from two yards out with 7:34 to go in the third.

San Diego responded with a 12-play, 80-yard drive that Gates capped with a 4- yard score. After a defensive holding call nullified Eric Weddle's interception of Manning, Thompson scored from one yard out to make it 35-14 with 13:29 to play.

Gates kept the Chargers alive with a 10-yard TD catch. After Denver kicker Brandon McManus missed a 53-yard field goal, Rahim Moore picked off Rivers to secure the victory for the Broncos.

Game Notes

Denver leads the all-time series by a 59-49-1 margin ... Chargers cornerback Brandon Flowers (concussion) missed the game ... Broncos linebacker Von Miller extended his NFL-best sack streak to six games ... Branden Oliver carried the ball 13 times for 36 yards for San Diego, with 23 yards coming on the final play of the game.