DENVER • Peyton Manning needs one more win to make his next big statement in the record book — tying John Elway with the second most regular-season wins of any NFL quarterback.
If that win comes Sunday against San Diego, Manning and the Broncos will make a bigger statement in the standings — all but wrapping up the AFC West title.
The Broncos (6-3) carry a two-game advantage over the second-place Chargers (4-5) into a rematch of Denver’s come-from-behind 35-24 victory in San Diego last month.
That win sparked a four-game winning streak for the Broncos, along with giving them a step up in the tiebreaker, which they would cement with another win Sunday. Meanwhile, things have gotten worse for the Chargers, who have lost two of three since the Broncos collapse and are in jeopardy of seeing the season, to say nothing of certain people’s jobs, slip away.
“Obviously, you’re aware of it because of the numbers,” coach Norv Turner said. “It’s a challenge for us coming into Denver, but certainly to have a chance to stay in the division race, we need to go win a game.”
This week’s handwringing in San Diego revolves around quarterback Phillip Rivers, who has 40 turnovers over the last 25 games.
No, Turner insists, Rivers will not lose his job.
Yes, the Chargers know, if they lose this game, they won’t win the division.
“Two games back, if we drop another loss this week, we’re not going to be able to come back from it,” safety Eric Weddle said. “So, it’s a big game. Denver’s playing amazing right now.”
Starting with the second half of the San Diego game, the Broncos have outscored their opponents 136-51 over the last three and a half contests.
On defense, Von Miller is bringing his game up a level or two. He has recorded four of his 10 sacks over the last two games.
On offense, well, Manning is making quite a statement.
Almost every week he’s catching or passing Elway, Dan Marino or some other legend in some area of the record book. He enters this game tied with Marino and one short of Elway with 147 career wins, though it’s the league-leading 108 passer rating, the 21 touchdowns and the 2,705 yards that are turning him into a candidate for his fifth MVP award.