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Peyton Manning throws 3 TDs as Broncos top Chargers 35-21

DENVER -- Quarterback Peyton Manning threw for three touchdowns, all to wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders, and the Denver Broncos pulled away to beat the San Diego Chargers 35-21 Thursday night.

Manning, who became the NFL's career leader in touchdown passes last Sunday night against San Francisco, added to the mark with scoring passes of 2, 31, and 3 yards to Sanders.

Overall, Manning was 25 of 35 for 286 yards along with the three touchdowns.

It was the fourth win in a row for Denver (6-1) since its only loss of the season in overtime to Seattle on Sept. 21. San Diego (5-3) lost back-to-back games for the first time this season.

Up by seven at the half, the Broncos stretched their lead to 28-7 in the third quarter on Sanders' third touchdown catch of the night and running back Juwan Thompson's 2-yard scoring run.

Sanders finished with nine catches for 120 yards.

Cornerback Chris Harris' interception of a Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers' pass led to Sanders' 3-yard touchdown early in the period, and a pass interference penalty against San Diego cornerback Richard Marshall got the Broncos inside the Chargers' 10-yard line, and Thompson scored the first of his two scoring runs two plays later.

After Rivers' fourth-down, 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Antonio Gates pulled the Chargers to 28-14 with 2:39 remaining in the third, Denver responded with a second-chance touchdown.

San Diego safety Eric Weddle picked off a pass by Manning in the end zone but it was negated by a defensive holding call on fellow safety Marcus Gilchrist. Denver, on a first-and-goal from the 1, scored on the next play on a burst by Thompson for a 35-14 lead with 13:29 left to play.

Rivers, who finished 30 of 41 for 252 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions, later hooked up with Gates from 10 yards out to get one score back but Denver quashed the comeback when safety Rahim Moore intercepted Rivers in the late going.

Manning connected with Sanders for a touchdown for the second time with 32 seconds remaining in the second quarter, giving the Broncos a 14-7 halftime lead.

The Broncos, given a reprieve when an apparent fumble by kick returner Andre Caldwell was overturned on replay review, drove 74 yards to the go-ahead score. Sanders outran Marshall, playing in place of injured Brandon Flowers (concussion) on a go route and Manning hit him in stride for the touchdown.

San Diego had evened the score on its previous possession. Facing a third-and-20, Rivers found Gates open down the middle for a 31-yard completion to the 2-yard line and wide receiver Keenan Allen caught a pass in the flat for the score on the next play.

On the ensuing kickoff, officials on the field ruled that Caldwell fumbled the ball when tackled at the Denver 26-yard line by linebacker Kavell Conner. But under review, it was determined that Caldwell didn't lose control of the ball until after hitting the ground with his arm, and the fumble call was reversed.

The Broncos broke a scoreless tie early in the second quarter when Manning and Sanders teamed up for the first time on a 2-yard touchdown pass.

NOTES: The Broncos released S John Boyette from their practice squad after he was arrested this week for investigation of assault, theft and harassment in connection with an attack on a cab driver. ... San Diego LB Andrew Gachkar started in place of Manti Te'o, who missed his fourth consecutive game since suffering a foot injury Sept. 21 at Buffalo. ... The Chargers also were without RB Ryan Mathews, sidelined since suffering a knee sprain Week 2 against Seattle.

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