Dec 13, 2013 at 1.25am UK at ​Sports Authority Field
San Diego Chargers
Denver Broncos
Caldwell (11:51)
Allen (9:46, 1:05)
Mathews (11:06)
Caldwell (10:26)

Live Commentary: San Diego Chargers 27-20 Denver Broncos - as it happened

Read Sports Mole to see how all the action from the NFL clash between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers unfolded.

The Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers met in their NFL week 15 clash on Thursday Night Football.

John Fox's side could all but seal the number one seed in the AFC playoff race with a victory while the Chargers were looking to keep their post-season hopes alive.

Mike McCoy's side pulled off a shock win at Sports Authority Field as they held the Broncos to their lowest score of the season in a 27-20 victory, to blow the AFC playoff race wide open with three weeks to play.

Read how all the action unfolded in our commentary below.

1.02amGood morning and welcome to the live commentary of the NFL clash between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers.

1.03amThe Broncos will have their eyes well and truly set on victory in this game after sealing their place in the AFC playoffs with their win over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. A win will put them within touching distance of securing the number one seed for the second year in a row.

1.04amPeyton Manning is just five touchdown passes away from equaling Tom Brady's record number of touchdowns thrown in a season of 50. He could even surpass that total in this game against the Chargers.

1.06amThe Broncos offense this season has been unstoppable as they have put 515 points in just 13 games. That's an average of 40 points a match, an incredible feat and if they keep that up, they will break the record of the New England Patriots set in 2007.

1.07amOne thing that could hold the Broncos back is their defense. They've given up a lot of points recently and have started to be hit by injuries as Kevin Vickerson and Rahim Moore have been placed on injured reserve while Champ Bailey continues to struggle.

1.10amThe Chargers will look to take advantage of that with quarterback Philip Rivers having his best season in his 10-year NFL career. He has thrown 26 touchdowns to just nine interceptions, his passer rating is over 100 and is completing a staggering 70% of his passes.

1.13amOne of the main reasons for this is the form of rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen, who has staked his claim for offensive rookie of the year, while free agent signing Danny Woodhead has been a revelation at running back, catching over 50 passes out of the backfield.

1.16amThe Chargers have also been hit by the injury bug and their depth on their defense has been tested in recent weeks. Melvin Ingram has returned to the side after missing the first 12 games of the year, so his pass rushing skills could be vital in this game to make up for their depleted numbers. It could be a struggle against Manning though, as there are so many ways he can beat you.

1.18amA fun stat, Philip Rivers has 27-6 record in the month of December since 2006. No quarterback in the NFL has a better record in the month in that timespan.

1.20amBRONCOS INACTIVES: Dysert, Anderson, Bailey, Walton, Kuper, Welker, Wolfe.

1.22amCHARGERS INACTIVES: Geathers, Hawkins, Patrick, Taylor, Schilling, Sorensen, Wiggins.

1.23amA big blow for the Broncos as they are without wide receiver Wes Welker, who has caught over 70 catches this season for 700 yards and 10 touchdowns, he is out with a concussion. Meanwhile, Champ Bailey is out with a foot injury and Derek Wolfe is out after suffering seizure-like symptoms last week.

1.24amThe Chargers have been boosted by Eddie Royal's fitness as he was questionable to play but he is active for the game. They are pretty much at full strength from their current 53-man roster.

Q1 14:52Holliday returns the ball to the 33 where Manning will begin.

Q1 14:43Manning goes play-action on the first play of the game and he drills the ball to his tight end Julius Thomas who makes the reception in tight coverage for 22 yards to move his side over midfield.

Q1 13:55Manning hands the ball off to Moreno on the ground and he churns up six yards on the ground over the right side of the line and then he gets eight more to Demaryius Thomas on an out route to move the chains.

Q1 12:30A crucial third down pickup for the Broncos after Moreno got six yards on the ground on second and on third Manning sits back in the pocket and drills the ball to Julius Thomas for a seven-yard reception.


Q1 11:51The Broncos take the lead as Manning zips the ball to the endzone to Caldwell on an corner route to the left cornerand he makes the grab for the 15-yard score beating the cornerback with a double move.

Q1 11:51Rivers will start at the 20.

Q1 11:37Rivers hands the ball off on the Chargers' first play of the game and Mathews finds space over the left side of the line and he sprints for the first down and 19 yards to the 39.

Q1 9:55After a couple of penalties for 12 men on the field and an offside against Miller, the Chargers move the chains again as Mathews gets the handoff and powers through the line for a three-yard gain.

Q1 9:10Rivers gets his side into Denver territory as he hits Brown on a perfect curl route for 11 yards and the receiver does brilliantly to get both feet in bounds to complete the catch at the 39.

Q1 7:29The Chargers do well to convert on third and eight as Rivers drops back in the pocket and the offensive line pick up the blitz allowing the quarterback to hit Gates over the middle of the field for a 16-yard gain on a crossing route.

Q1 5:20San Diego can't get the ball into the endzone as Rivers is brought down for a one-yard sack by Williams on second down and on third there is confusion between the quarterback and Allen as he throws the ball up but Allen stops on a short route. That will leave Novak with a 39-yard field goal.

Q1 5:15FIELD GOAL GOOD! Chargers 3-7 Broncos

Q1 5:15Novak knocks the ball through the posts and we have a four-point game.

Q1 5:09Holliday returns the kickoff to the 24 where Manning will begin again.

Q1 4:36Manning gets his side moving again as he fires the ball to Demaryius Thomas for a 15-yard gain over the right side beating Wright in coverage with a double move.

Q1 3:15The Broncos get a huge break as Marshall is flagged for defensive holding which gives them another set of down as it hands them five yards, after Moreno got six yards on firs down.

Q1 2:48Manning fires deep down the left sideline for Decker as he has all the time in the world to pick him out and the receiver does well to sit down in the zone for the 21-yard gain at the San Diego 19.

Q1 1:54Ball takes a six-yard loss on first down and the Chargers can't get the yardage back as Julius Thomas can only get 12 yards on a reception a crossing route and that will leave Prater with a 32-yard field goal.

Q1 1:22FIELD GOAL GOOD! Chargers 3-10 Broncos

Q1 1:22Prater fires the ball through the posts and the Broncos lead by seven.

Q1 1:22Rivers will start at the 20.

Q1 0:36The Chargers get moving down the middle of the field as Mathews gets six yards on first down and Rivers runs himself for 11 yards to the 38 to get another set of downs after a play broke down and he was forced to scramble.

Q1 0:00END OF FIRST QUARTER: San Diego Chargers 3-10 Denver Broncos

Q2 14:54Rivers looks downfield on second and 10 and he is forced to checkdown to Woodhead who catches the pass and sprints down the right sideline evading one tackle to get the first down for 14 yards.

Q2 14:10Mathews gets the handoff on second down on a sweep play over the left side of the line and he sprints through a couple of tackles to get 10 yards on the play to move the chains.

Q2 12:02Timeout taken at a crucial third down and one by the Broncos defense at their own 25 after Brown made a good reception on a comeback route on second and nine for eight yards.

Q2 11:56Mathews gets the first down for the Chargers on the second attempt as he gets stopped on a first attempt but he wriggles free of a tackle to move the chains with a two-yard run.


Q2 9:46The Chargers tie things up with a great drive and score as Rivers hits Allen on a crossing route but the receiver does brilliantly as he shows a burst of acceleration and then he hurdles a tackle before leaping over the safety Adams for the 19-yard score.

Q2 9:38Manning will start at the 10 as Holliday gets decked on his return by Ajirotutu.

Q2 8:40A rare three and out for the Broncos as Manning's pass to Caldwell on a go route is nearly intercepted by Wright and on second his pass was tipped by Weddle at the line and almost picked after Moreno was dropped for a loss on first. Colquitt's punt is taken to SD45 by Allen.

Q2 6:27The Chargers get stopped for a three and out on their drive as Rivers throws a horrible pass to Brown on first but on third a hold by Hardwick kills the drive as he holds Knighton stopping a deep throw to Allen down the left sideline. On a draw play on third they can't get the yardage back and Scifres is forced to punt and it's collected by Holliday at the six-yard line.

Q2 4:32SACK! Manning is dropped for a big loss on third and short as Liuget powers through the middle of the line and moves him off the spot and Gilchrist comes round the back on a corner blitz to get the sack for a 12-yard loss. Colquitt punts the ball to the Denver 43 where Allen collects.

Q2 3:47Mathews gets the first down for the Chargers as he powers through the line on first for nine yards and the gets the handoff on the stretch play over the left for another four yards to move the chains at the Denver 27.

Q2 2:28Another chain mover for the Chargers as Rivers fakes the handoff to Woodhead and he drills the ball to Royal on a corner route for 12 yards to move his side into the redzone at the Denver 13.

Q2 1:12Another big third down conversion coming up for San Diego at third and seven on the Denver 10 as Rivers was almost intercepted by Harris as he overthrew Gates in the endzone.


Q2 1:05The Chargers take the lead thanks to a great throw and a great route and catch from Rivers to Allen, as the quarterback put the ball up on a fade route for the receiver and he turned his body to make the grab for the 10-yard score. Big moment in the game.

Q2 0:58The Broncos will start at the 23 following Holliday's return.

Q2 0:23A three and out for Manning and the Broncos as on third and six his pass goes right through the fingers of Julius Thomas after Moreno could only get four yards on second with a swing pass after a good tackle by Wright to bring him down in bounds. Allen collects the ball at the SD 30.

Q2 0:00Rivers kneels out the half as the Chargers get the ball to start the second half.

Q2 0:00HALF-TIME: San Diego Chargers 17-10 Denver Broncos

2.54amWell well well, not the half of football we were expecting from the Broncos and Manning. After cruising down the field with ease on their first two drives the Broncos were held to three consecutive three and outs. Not something that has been seen that often his season if at all. The Chargers have been excellent bar the first drive of the game and deserve their lead.

2.56amWhen I mentioned Keenan Allen pre-game, there was a reason for it as he has shown exactly why he should be offensive rookie of the year, with two fantastic scores showing athleticism and guile to get into the endzone. How he fell to the third round of the Draft is baffling.

2.57amRivers has outplayed Manning so far and he is getting excellent support from the run game from Mathews, who has 58 yards on the ground off just 13 carries. Rivers's stats are as follows, 7-12 for 90 yard and two touchdowns, while Manning is 9-15 for 118 and one score. Moreno on the ground has seven rushes for 21 yards.

Q3 15:00Rivers will start at the 20.

Q3 14:22Rivers gets the chains moving for his side with a 13-yard strike to Royal on a comeback route after Mathews took a two-yard loss on first.

Q3 12:46A great throw and catch by Rivers to Brown over Webster on third and nine gets a huge third down conversion for the Chargers for a reception worth 32 yards and moves them to the Denver 35.

Q3 11:35Woodhead moves the chains for the Chargers as he gets a toss play on first which he does well to leap over a tackle from Webster to churn out four yards on the ground and then he comes back on second with a slash run through the line picking up eight more before he gets brought down at the Denver 23.


Q3 11:06The Chargers extend their lead to 14 points as Rivers hands the ball off to Mathews on a stretch play over the left side of the line and he manages to escape the tackle of Miller and then sprints the rest of the way into the endzone for the 23-yard touchdown. A great play.

Q3 11:06Novak kicks the ball out of bounds on the kickoff and Manning will start at the 40.

Q3 10:38The Broncos pick up 10 yards straight away as Manning hits Demaryius Thomas on a crossing route and he beats a tackle to get the first down before he gets brought down at the 50.

Q3 9:52The Broncos can't extend their drive as Manning's pass to Decker on third down falls incomplete in tight coverage from Wright and Colquitt is forced to punt but he hits a good one down to the one-yard line where Caldwell downs it.

Q3 8:28The Broncos make the stop on third down as Rivers's pass downfield falls incomplete looking for Royal and that will force Scifres to punt.

Q3 8:28OH DEAR! Trevathan moves into the neutral zone on the punt and hands the Chargers a first down with a five-yard penalty. That is criminal.

Q3 6:50The Chargers make the Broncos pay with a first down conversion on third and six as Rivers drills the ball to Gates on third and six to move the visitors to their own 25.

Q3 4:52Another penalty kills the Broncos as they drag Woodhead down for a four-yard loss but that is erased for a 12 men on the field penalty and that allows Woodhead and the Brown through the middle of the line to get the five yards needed for the first at the San Diego 38.

Q3 3:45Rivers does well on first and 15 after taking an illegal shift penalty as he throw a short screen to Royal and the receiver gets behind left tackle Dunlap who knocks Adams to the ground helping his side getting a 20-yard pick up to move to the Denver 47.

Q3 1:32SACK! Phillips gets to Rivers in the pocket and drags him down for a five-yard loss on third down killing the impressive drive from the Chargers and Scifres is forced to punt and his kick is fair caught by Decker at the 11.

Q3 0:45Manning moves the chains as he drills the ball into a tight window to Caldwell who makes the grab for the 10-yard reception to move his side to their own 26. An excellent throw.

Q3 0:00Ball gets the handoff and he gets three yards and that will leave Denver with a second and seven at the start of the fourth quarter.

Q3 0:00END OF THIRD QUARTER: San Diego Chargers 24-10 Denver Broncos

Q4 14:53Manning gets a crucial pick up on second down to move the Broncos to midfield as he fires over the middle on play-action to Decker who manages to haul the ball in inches from the ground to make the 21-yard catch.

Q4 14:10Manning goes off play-action again and hits Ball between the numbers and he turns and runs as the Chargers defense to turn it into a first down and a 15-yard reception, beating several tackles.

Q4 12:16The Broncos drive comes to an end as Manning's deep throw for Caldwell falls incomplete but they opt to go for it on fourth and six.

Q4 12:11The Broncos get the first down as Manning drills the ball to Caldwell on a slant route for a 15-yard pick up moving them to the San Diego 16.

Q4 10:56Moreno gets nine yards on a screen pass to move Denver within the San Diego 10 and then Ball comes back on second with a carry for three yards up the middle of the field.


Q4 10:26The Broncos are back in this game as Manning drills the ball to Caldwell on a screen pass and he gets behind blocks from Decker and Demaryius Thomas to get into the endzone for the four-yard score. Game on!

Q4 8:50The Chargers get a huge break on third down as Ihenacho is flagged for a pass interference call on Green as he attempted to haul in Rivers's pass on third and five. That will move the Chargers to the 42.

Q4 8:19San Diego get a bit lucky as a miscommunication between Rivers and Mathews almost ends in catastrophe but the quarterback hands the ball off just in time and he gets the first down as a huge hole appears in the Denver defense for a 13-yard gain.

Q4 5:50The Broncos get a huge stop on third and one as they drive Mathews back for a two-yard loss and they force the punt from Scifres who initially drops the ball but gathers it and he drills it out of bounds at the Denver three-yard line. A great punt.

Q4 5:34The Broncos move the chains as Manning fires to Ball of play-action and he goes out of bounds as the 14 for an 11-yard reception.

Q4 5:22Manning fires over the middle to Caldwell and he makes the catch at the 18 for a four-yard gain but a horse-collar tackle by Weddle adds 15 yards onto that moving them to the 33-yard line.


Q4 5:07The Chargers make a crucial play as Liuget bursts through the line and manages to knock the arm of Manning as he attempts to throw the ball and it loops up into the air into the arms of Kaiser for the pick.

Q4 4:11San Diego are rolling now and Mathews continues his success on the ground with a nine-yard carry on first down and then moves the chains with a a run though the middle for a yard. That moves the Chargers to the Denver 23.

Q4 2:41The Chargers do a good job of using up the clock as Mathews charges through the line for a six yard gain on third down leaving Novak with a 35-yard field goal attempt to make it a two-score game.

Q4 2:36FIELD GOAL GOOD! Chargers 27-17 Broncos

Q4 2:36Novak holds his nerve and drills the ball through the posts to hand the Chargers a 10-point lead with just 156 seconds left in the game.

Q4 2:36Manning will start at the 20.

Q4 2:10Manning fires over the middle of the field and Moreno makes the catch to move his side to the Denver 35 with a 15-yard reception.

Q4 2:00At the two-minute warning the Broncos have a third down and five at their own 40 after Manning fired a short completion to Moreno over the middle of the field for a five-yard reception.

Q4 1:50Caldwell makes a reception on a slant route and he gets 10 yards before he gets brought down at the 50.

Q4 1:09Ball makes a good reception over the middle of the field for a 13-yard reception to move his side to the 30.

Q4 0:39Third and six for Denver at the 24-yard line.

Q4 0:34Manning's pass to Caldwell falls incomplete but to make it as seven-point game they opt to kick a field goal and Prater will come out for the 42-yard attempt.

Q4 0:29FIELD GOAL GOOD! Chargers 27-20 Broncos

Q4 0:29Prater knocks the ball though the posts and will now attempt an onside kick.

Q4 0:29The Broncos can't get the onside kick as Prater's kick doesn't go 10 yards and the ball is knocked out of bounds.

Q4 0:00Rivers kneels down to secure the win for the Chargers. A great performance and they're alive in their playoff hunt.

Q4 0:00FULL-TIME: San Diego Chargers 27-20 Denver Broncos

4.30amWhat a win for the San Diego Chargers as they have shocked the Denver Broncos with a brilliant performance. I don't think anyone saw that coming after the first drive of the game when Manning and his offense trotted down the field and scored with ease, but the Chargers defense upped their game and held the Broncos to their lowest points tally of the season.

4.35amSan Diego's playoff hopes are rekindled as they can now take a shot for the final Wild Card place where there is a three-way battle between themselves, Baltimore and Miami, who are both 7-6.

4.36amBy losing Denver have opened the door for the New England Patriots to take the number one seed this Sunday if they can beat the Miami Dolphins and return the favour to the Chargers and also when they play the Ravens in week 16.

4.37amDenver will also be desperately looking over their shoulder now as Kansas City as well. Despite holding the tie-breaker over them another defeat could see them slip from the guaranteed bye to a Wild Card game. This loss has well and truly blown the AFC wide open again.

4.39amThanks for joining our commentary this evening. We'll be back on Sunday with all the action from the NFL when week 15 resumes. Until then, goodbye.

Wide receiver Keenan Allen #13 of the San Diego Chargers gets away from cornerback Adam Jones #2 of the Cincinnati Bengals at Qualcomm Stadium on December 1, 2013
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