DENVER Peyton Manning wanted more rest. He got plenty Thursday night thanks to Philip Rivers and a San Diego defense that slowed down Manning and handed the Broncos an unexpected and harmful loss.
Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Keenan Allen and kept the Chargers offense on the field for nearly 39 minutes in a 27-20 stunner over the Broncos, whose easy road to the AFC West title and top seeding in the conference got an unexpected jolt.
Disorganized on defense and never able to crank things up on offense, the Broncos (11-3) gained 13 yards on the 13 plays they ran after taking a 10-3 lead late in the first quarter. That covered four fruitless drives during which they went three-and-out three times and picked up a total of one first down.
Rivers finished 12 for 20 for 166 yards in improving to 28-6 in December. Ryan Matthews matched his season high with 127 yards on 29 carries. The Chargers improved to 7-7.