Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns and Von Miller had three sacks, as the Denver Broncos defeated the San Diego Chargers 30-23 on Sunday to take a three-game lead in the AFC West.
The Chargers (4-6) lost for the fifth time in six games. For Chargers fans, postseason opportunities for the team grew even bleaker with the loss.
"We can't worry about that. We just have to go try and win a game," said Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers, who threw two TD passes along and two interceptions. "We have to hang our hat on controlling what we can control."
Rivers put up decent numbers -- 24 for 40 for 258 yards -- but all but 60 of the yards came after the Chargers had fallen behind 24-9 midway through the third quarter.
“Unfortunately we weren’t consistent enough on offense,” said Chargers center Nick Hardwick. “We put a couple of nice tries together but when it came down to it, they outplayed us.”
The defense gave it all it had but more turnovers and more quarterback pressure doomed the Chargers in what was a must win game against the Broncos.
“The defense overcame a lot of things today, really played their hearts out. Really played together,” said Chargers free safety Eric Weddle. “We held us into the game. They could’ve just rolled us over and blew us out. But we stuck in there.”
The story of the Chargers season can be found in the final moments of the fourth quarter. The Chargers still had a chance. On 4th down and 9, with the season hanging in the balance, the Chargers were called for delay of game. That 4th and 9 became 4th and 14.
It was another mistake that came at an awful time.
What happens when you lose a must win game?
“It’s unexplainable how we feel at the team, how I feel as an individual and how we feel as a team,” said Chargers tight end Antonio Gates.
Chargers will need to play much better over the next three weeks against Baltimore, Cincinnati and at Pittsburgh.
Manning threw for 270 yards and Miller finished the day with 13 sacks on the season -- most in the NFL.
Manning won his 148th regular-season game as a starting quarterback, tying John Elway for second on the all-time list. Brett Favre has 186.