DENVER – When Peyton Manning signed with the Broncos in March, this statement would have seemed unlikely.
Denver's big lead in the AFC West has as much to do with the defense and special teams as Manning's offense.
Manning added three more touchdown passes in a 30-23 win against San Diego on Sunday at Sports Authority Field. The Broncos scored at least 30 points for the fifth straight game, a franchise record.
And the defense and special teams again challenged Manning for headline honors.
Denver forced three turnovers, including an interception by linebacker Wesley Woodyard. Von Miller had three sacks, giving the linebacker seven in his past three games. Nate Irving’s blocked punt led to a touchdown.
The Broncos defense extended a remarkable streak of holding an opponent without a third-down conversion on 23 consecutive attempts. That streak spanned games against the Bengals, Panthers and Chargers.
Denver (7-3) has won five straight and all but clinched the AFC West title. The Chargers (4-6) trail the Broncos by three games with six to play. By virtue of a season sweep in the series, Denver also holds the head-to-head tiebreaker over San Diego.
Manning’s second-quarter completion to Demaryius Thomas gave the quarterback 421 career touchdown passes, breaking a tie with Dan Marino for second all-time.
Running back Willis McGahee suffered a knee injury in the first half and did not return to the game.
More coverage coming later on Gazette.com.