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            === Chargers puncture Broncos' air of invincibility ===
 
 Denver, CO (SportsNetwork.com) - Peyton Manning sat and waited on the sideline
 as San Diego kept moving the chains and churning the clock.
 
 The Chargers' slim playoff hopes don't look so slim anymore.
 
 Ryan  Mathews ran  for 127  yards  and a  touchdown and  Philip Rivers  tossed
 a  pair of  scores to Keenan Allen  as the Chargers shocked the Denver Broncos
 27-20 on Thursday night.
 
 The  Chargers,  who snapped Denver's 10-game  AFC West winning steak, held the
 ball for nearly 39 minutes and converted 6-of-12 third downs.
 
 "Time of possession is only important if you're scoring," Rivers said.
 
 Denver tallied 127 yards on its first two drives of the game, but totaled just
 168 yards the rest of the way. The Broncos' 295 total yards and 20 points were
 a season low.
 
 "The  longer you  keep the ball and the  less he (Manning) has it, the better
 off you're going  to  be," Chargers  head coach and  former Broncos offensive
 coordinator Mike McCoy said.
 
 Rivers was 12-of-20 for 166 yards for San Diego (7-7), which moved a half game
 behind  the Baltimore Ravens and Miami Dolphins for the AFC's second wild-card
 spot.
 
 Manning  flipped  a 5-yard TD  pass to Andre  Caldwell with 10:25 remaining to
 pull  the Broncos within  24-17 and Denver got the ball back at its own 3 with
 5:50 to go following a San Diego punt.
 
 Manning,  though, was intercepted on the third play of the drive by linebacker
 Thomas Keiser to all but seal the outcome. Chargers defensive end Corey Liuget
 fought  through a  double team and hit  Manning as he threw and Keiser notched
 the easy pick.
 
 Nick  Novak's 35-yard field goal after the misue gave the Chargers a 27-17
 lead with 2:36 left.
 
 Matt  Prater nailed a 42-yard field goal with 34 ticks on the clock to whittle
 the deficit to 27-20, but the ensuing onsides kick went out of bounds.
 
 Manning  completed  27-of-41 passes for  289 yards  with two touchdowns and an
 interception  for the Broncos (11-3), who are tied with the Kansas City Chiefs
 in the loss column atop the AFC West. Denver holds the tiebreaker because they
 beat  the Chiefs twice. Kansas City is in Oakland to clash with the Raiders on
 Sunday.
 
 Denver  is also tied  with the New England Patriots in the loss column for the
 top  seed in the  AFC. The Patriots hold the tiebreaker there due to their win
 over  the Broncos earlier this season in Foxboro. New England travels to Miami
 Sunday to play the Dolphins.
 
 Caldwell,  filling  in for  a concussed  Wes Welker, caught  six passes for 59
 yards and two scores in defeat.
 
 "I'd  say we  didn't have our best  stuff tonight," Denver head coach John Fox
 said. "They obviously did a better job getting ready on the short week than we
 did."
 
 Prater's  32-yard field  goal gave Denver a 10-3 advantage late in the opening
 frame,  but the Chargers ripped off 21 unanswered points to surge ahead as the
 Broncos'  offense  registered three  straight  three-and-outs  in between  the
 second and third stanzas.
 
 On  a  3rd-and-6 from  the Denver  19 during  the early  stages of the second,
 Rivers  flipped a  completion to Allen sprinting over the middle on a crossing
 pattern. Allen then hurdled over Kayvon Webster inside the 10 and got into the
 end zone to knot the game at 10-10.
 
 The 13-play, 80-yard trek took 6:36 off the clock.
 
 San  Diego found the  end zone again with 1:05 left before the half when Allen
 came  down with a Rivers pass from 10 yards out in the back left corner of the
 end zone on a post corner pattern to make it 17-10.
 
 Denver had minus-2 total yards in the second.
 
 The Chargers' third touchdown drive came on their initial touch of the third.
 
 Vincent  Brown  came down with  a 32-yard catch on  a perfectly lofted ball by
 Rivers  down the left  sideline on a 3rd-and-9 and Mathews broke off a 23-yard
 TD run along the left boundary to extend the margin to 24-10.
 
 Denver finally picked up a first down on its next possession at the 11:05 mark
 of the third, its first since 3:15 was left in the first.
 
 After  Britton Colquit  downed a  punt at  the San  Diego 1-yard  line, Denver
 appeared  to  force a three-and-out, but  Nate Irving was called for a neutral
 zone infraction on 4th-and-4.
 
 The  miscue didn't  result into any points  on the trek, but San Diego's drive
 burned  8:20  off the clock and  flipped field position. Denver didn't get the
 ball again until 1:32 was left in the third.
 
 Earlier, Caldwell's 15-yard TD catch capped the Broncos' opening series of the
 game  before  San Diego answered  with a 38-yard field  goal from Novak on its
 first touch.
 
                                   Game Notes
 
 San  Diego was 4-of-6  on third down in the first half ... Denver at one point
 gained  13  yards on 13  plays ... Denver had  its 14-game home winning streak
 snapped.
 
 12/13 02:08:23 ET