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(Sunday, November 28th)
Final Score: San Diego 36, Indianapolis 14
Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - The San Diego defense intercepted Peyton Manning four times, returning two picks for touchdowns, and the Chargers scored 20 total points off turnovers Sunday in a 36-14 victory over the Colts.
Philip Rivers threw for 185 yards without a mistake and Mike Tolbert rushed 26 times for 103 yards and a touchdown as the Chargers (6-5) won for the fifth time in their last six meetings with Indianapolis.
"They got after us tonight," said Manning, who was 31-of-48 for 285 yards and two touchdowns -- an OK line if you don't include his four interceptions.
Colts head coach Jim Caldwell said it wasn't all on his quarterback.
"A couple [turnovers] were caused by the fact that he was hit and the ball was up in the air," Caldwell said. "He is certainly a guy that plays and plays well. We just have to pass protect for him and give him a better running game."
Indeed, Manning didn't struggle alone.
Playing from behind for three-plus quarters, the Colts (6-5) rushed for only 24 yards on 13 carries, with Donald Brown gaining 24 of them on 11 attempts. Tight end Jacob Tamme was their leading receiver with seven catches for 64 yards and a touchdown.
Indianapolis lost for the second week in a row, but is still tied with Jacksonville for first place in the AFC South.
The Chargers, meanwhile, remained within a game of the Kansas City Chiefs for first place in the AFC West after their fourth straight win. They beat Indianapolis decisively despite getting just two more first downs and gaining two fewer yards on offense.
The San Diego defense did much of the work, outscoring the Colts 20-14 by itself.
"The defense was awesome," said Rivers. "Talk about a team win. That is certainly what tonight was. Getting two defensive touchdowns was obviously huge."
Linebacker Kevin Burnett jumped in front of a Manning pass with two minutes left in the first quarter and returned it 29 yards for the first defensive touchdown, giving the Chargers a 10-7 lead.
Manning was picked off on the next series by linebacker Stephen Cooper, and the Chargers turned it into a 33-yard Nate Kaeding field goal with 10 minutes left in the second quarter. Kaeding kicked a 50-yarder on San Diego's next possession to make it 16-7.
Still, the Colts were in the game at halftime. Manning hit slashing receiver Blair White in the end zone for a six-yard touchdown to get Indianapolis within 16-14 heading into the locker room.
But those were the last points the Colts scored in a game that got quickly out of hand in the second half.
Besides their two scoring drives in the first half, Manning said, there was little the Colts could hang their hat on.
"It was pretty tough sledding all night," he said.
Kaeding kicked a 30-yard field goal on the first series of the second half and safety Eric Weddle intercepted Manning as Reggie Wayne fell to the ground, taking the pick back 41 yards for a touchdown and a 26-14 San Diego lead with 8 1/2 minutes left in the third quarter.
Indianapolis turned the ball over on downs and Tolbert scored his touchdown on a three-yard run 3:34 into the fourth quarter, ending a 10-play, 61-yard drive.
Colts running back Javarris James fumbled two plays into the next possession, and San Diego turned it into three more points on Kaeding's 20-yarder for the 36-14 final margin.
The Chargers' four-game winning streak comes on the heels of a 0-3 stretch that dropped them to 2-5 on the season. As if following a pattern, the four- time defending AFC West champions are heating up at the end of the season once again.
San Diego won eight of nine games to close out the 2007 season, prevailed in five of the last six contests the following year and ripped off 11 wins in 12 tries at the conclusion of the 2009 campaign.
Do the Chargers think they're on another roll?
"You do feel it. It's a good feeling," said Rivers. "But you know how quickly that feeling can go away if you let one slip. At 2-5 a lot of teams would have thrown in the towel. But we have a group of resilient guys, tough guys."
Sunday night's game didn't look like it was going to be a rout from the beginning after Manning threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Tamme to make it 7-0 on the first drive of the game.
But Kaeding responded with the first of his five field goals, this one from 28 yards, and the Chargers defense took care of the rest.
"We did start fast," said Caldwell. "We just didn't follow it up."
Manning has thrown seven interceptions in the last two games (he had three last week in a loss at New England) and has 11 for the season...The Chargers won their eighth straight game in November...San Diego is 15-9 all-time against the Colts in the regular season.
11/29 01:48:56 ET