Oct 23, 2014 11:00 PM
Manning, Broncos lead Chargers 28-14
The Associated Press
DENVER (AP) Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes to Emmanuel Sanders and the Denver Broncos took a 28-14 lead over the San Diego Chargers after three quarters Thursday night.
Manning kept his roll going, throwing TD passes No. 511, 512 and 513.
The five-time NFL MVP was coming off an emotional four-TD performance Sunday night against San Francisco in which he surpassed Brett Favre as the NFL's touchdown pass king.
Manning found Sanders for a 2-yard score early in the second quarter and a 31-yarder with 32 seconds remaining in the half.
His third TD pass to Sanders was threaded between two defenders from 3 yards out. It was set up when Chris Harris Jr. intercepted Philip Rivers' pass.
Sanders entered the game with just one scoring catch this season.
Ronnie Hillman nearly had a 33-yard TD run, but it was negated by a holding call on left guard Orlando Franklin. Backup running back Juwan Thompson later scored from the 2 to make it 28-7.
The Chargers faced a fourth-and-goal from the 4 when Rivers found Antonio Gates in the end zone. It was the 68th time the tandem has connected for a score.
After the Broncos scored first, Rivers answered with a short TD strike to Keenan Allen. The score was set up when Rivers found Gates on third-and-20 for a 31-yard gain to the 2.
The Broncos caught a break on the ensuing kickoff, when Andre Caldwell was stripped of the ball. But replay indicated his left elbow was down and the Broncos maintained possession.
Eight players later, Sanders blew past a San Diego secondary missing Brandon Flowers (concussion) and easily hauled in Manning's pass.
San Diego has won four of the last five regular-season games in Denver, including a Thursday night contest last December in which the Chargers controlled the clock and kept the ball out of Manning's hands.
That led the Broncos change their work week. They practiced without pads and helmets.
But their first two drives led to punts.
Same with San Diego. After the Chargers went three-and-out on his second series, Rivers retreated to the sideline while yelling into his helmet.
Manning was of 20 for 28 for 233 yards through three quarters.
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