SAN DIEGO (AP) — Brock Osweiler and the Denver Broncos felt right at home in San Diego from the minute they came out for pregame warmups and saw all the orange-clad fans.

Then they got a remarkably easy victory against the hapless San Diego Chargers.

Osweiler threw a 3-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas on the game's opening drive and Danny Trevathan intercepted Philip Rivers and returned it 25 yards for a score to lead the Broncos to a 17-3 victory.

"Oh my gosh it was unbelievable how much orange," said Osweiler, who was 16 of 26 for 166 yards as he moved to 3-0 since he took over for the injured Peyton Manning. "They have no idea how much that means to us.

"No one blinked with this being a road game."

The Broncos improved to 10-2 as they close in on their fifth straight AFC West crown.

With about five minutes left, Broncos fans cheered a scoreboard update showing Philadelphia leading New England. The Patriots, lost, leaving the Broncos in position to clinch the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs if they win out.

Osweiler helped lead the Broncos to a 30-24 overtime victory against New England last Sunday night. The Broncos host Cincinnati (10-2) on Dec. 28.

"When the defense was on the field, it was loud," Thomas said about the crowd. "I was not used to that. It was good for us."

San Diego fell to 3-9, taking its fifth straight home loss and its fifth straight against division foes. It was the Chargers' second consecutive home game without a touchdown; they lost to AFC West rival Kansas City 33-3 on Nov. 22. It's been more than a year since they've beaten a division foe.

This isn't the first time the Chargers have felt like the road team in their own stadium.

"We've gotten used to it, unfortunately, and us not winning doesn't help," said a resigned Rivers. "That is a bad combination."

This might have been the penultimate Chargers game in San Diego. Chairman Dean Spanos wants to move to an industrial suburb of Los Angeles, and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell last week warned San Diego that it had until the end of the month to come up with a solid plan for a new stadium.

The Chargers walked away from stadium talks in mid-June.

The Broncos had no trouble moving 76 yards in eight plays on the opening drive, including a 22-yard run by C.J. Anderson and a 21-yard pass to Thomas. Osweiler then found Thomas wide open in the end zone for the score.

"We got a quick start, a quick score," Osweiler said. "We slowed down a little bit throughout the game. We did what we had to do to stay in it."

The opening drive "was our best, running and throwing," Thomas said. "That is how we want it to be every week. We still have things to work on. If we can do that more often, it will be big for our offense."

Thomas was coming off the worst game of his career, when he caught just one of 13 passes thrown his way.

On San Diego's third possession, Rivers was hit and the ball went straight to Trevathan. He rumbled in to make it 14-0. It was his first NFL score and the fifth defensive touchdown for the Broncos this season. He later left with a concussion.

It was Rivers' fifth pick-six of the year. Rivers was 18 of 35 for 202 yards and was sacked four times. It was his second-lowest yardage of the season.

"It was not a great throw," Rivers said. "Just a bad play all the way around."

The Broncos pushed it to 17-0 on Brandon McManus' 23-yard field goal late in the second quarter.

San Diego rookie Josh Lambo kicked a 51-yard field goal just before halftime to avoid a shutout. He missed a 48-yarder in the first quarter.

Chargers receiver Dontrelle Inman suffered a scary injury in the first quarter. He was immobilized on a backboard and taken off the field on a cart after a helmet-to-helmet hit by Denver safety David Bruton Jr. Inman was hit after making a 15-yard catch for a first down.

An initial evaluation was negative and Inman was able to move his hands and feet, the team said.

A few plays later, cornerback Brandon Flowers was hurt. He too was taken off the field on a cart.

Running back Melvin Gordon, the Chargers' first-round draft pick, lost another fumble and was benched. He has lost four of his five fumbles and has yet to score a touchdown.

NOTES: Broncos TE Vernon Davis also suffered a concussion. Others on the Broncos' injury list were Anderson (ankle), S Omar Bolden (hamstring) and Bruton (knee). ... The Chargers reluctantly confirmed reports they extended general manager Tom Telesco's contract during the summer. The team didn't say why it tried to keep the news quiet. ... Coach Mike McCoy, 21-23 in three seasons, said he has not been offered an extension.

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Fourth quarter: Broncos 17, Chargers 3

No fourth-quarter theatrics this time around. After one decent, sustained drive to start the fourth quarter, the Broncos settled into a holding pattern, and the Chargers couldn’t do a thing about it. Still no scoring, but a few fireworks between Von Miller and Philip Rivers. Miller recorded his second sack of the game with under seven minutes to go, and later the two got into a shoving match and had to be separated. Some bad news, as the Broncos’ injury list continued to grow.

Key play: Shane Ray sacks Philip Rivers with 30 seconds left to play, then performs two haphazard somersaults in a row as part of his victory dance. The game was long since decided at that point, but cheers to the excited rookie for keeping it entertaining.

Tweet of the quarter: #Patriots now been outscored 58-17 (!) since leading Broncos 21-7 with 13:29 left in 4Q last week —@Sean Leahy (Sports Editor of the Boston Herald)

Third quarter: Broncos 17, Chargers 3

The natives are restless. The few that are here, at least. After a series of conservative play calls, the Chargers fans in attendance let their voices be heard with a chorus of boos. Truth is, the Chargers shouldn’t still be in this game. The Broncos were positioned for the knockout punch when Osweiler tossed an untimely interception in the end zone. But San Diego couldn’t do anything with the turnover and soon punted back to the visiting team. Denver is the visiting team, right? The crowd here at Qualcomm Stadium appears to be roughly 40 percent in favor of the Broncos. Still, it’s hard to blame the locals for not showing up when, one, this is a glorious Sunday for a beach trip and, two, Chargers ownership is threatening to leave the premises — for good. Place a bet on the Chargers calling Los Angeles their home next season.

Key play: Brock Osweiler took a wallop. Then he threw an interception. The two incidents were not mutually exclusive. After he was floored with a shot to the ribs, Osweiler lofted fade to Emmanuel Sanders that was picked off by Jason Verrett.

Tweet of the quarter: If all these (so call) chargers fans would show up to the games like they did my mentions criticizing Gates…. Chargers wouldn’t leave. —@ShannonSharpe (Broncos’ Hall of Fame tight end)

Spotted from the press box: C.J. Anderson wearing a ballcap. Denver’s best tailback sustained an ankle injury and doesn’t appear to be returning any time soon.

Second quarter: Broncos 17, Chargers 3

Philip Rivers is a swell guy. No, really. Teammates and coaches rave about his work ethic. His family’s philanthropy in southern California deserves a salute. And he’s currently second in the NFL in passing yardage. His team, though? Checked out. The Chargers are done; not only today, but for the rest of the season. Soon as Danny Trevathan opened the floodgates with a pick-6, shoulders up and down the Chargers sideline slumped like it was over. Rivers is standing by his lonesome at the end of the sideline. Coach Mike McCoy, the former Broncos offensive coordinator, is way down on the other end. Denver’s 'D' is making sure Rivers has no time to throw, and it’s resulting in a spree of errant passes and quarterback sacks, of which the Broncos have two. Despite the August-ish weather, this could get ugly, and fast.

Key play: Shaq Barrett, the Colorado State alum, has filled in for DeMarcus Ware quite well. Barrett’s discipline, particularly for a young guy, prevents him from being fooled on play-action. Barrett smacked San Diego tailback Melvin Gordon for a loss.

Tweet of the quarter:  A 46-yard drive just consumed 7:18. Broncos grinding it out, as they wanted to do. —@MaseDenver ( independent analyst)

Spotted from the press box: Malik Jackson, the defensive lineman, celebrating a holding penalty on ex-Bronco Orlando Franklin. Jackson — and the Broncos defense as a whole — has been lobbying for more holding calls over the past several weeks.

First quarter: Broncos 14, Chargers 0

What started as a dust storm is building into a tropical storm. (Brock you like a hurricane? OK, sorry.) On his opening drive, Osweiler guided the Broncos 76 yards in eight plays. The only mistake was a single overthrown pass, and Osweiler made up for it with a touchdown toss to Demaryius Thomas. Gary Kubiak looks like a kid in Toys ‘R Us. The offensive play-caller mixed in some Ronnie Hillman, some C.J. Anderson and sprinkled play-action over the top in a first drive nearly as perfect as a banana split on Mission Beach. After sinking the Chargers into an early hole, the Broncos defense forced the Chargers into a punt. Now it’s shaping into a long day for the home team. Meanwhile, two Chargers have been taken off the field on a cart: Dontrelle Inman and Brandon Flowers.

Key play: Hope you had Demaryius Thomas in your fantasy lineup. The highly paid wideout is looking to atone for a sub-par, drop-heavy showing last Sunday against the Patriots. His 4-yard touchdown catch lit the scoreboard at Qualcomm.

Tweet of the quarter:  #Broncos have allowed 24 points in first quarter this season, third fewest in NFL entering Sunday. —@TroyRenck (Denver Post beat writer)

Spotted from the press box: My college roommate, Mike Tucker, in Row 7 of Section 33. Mike is a Bears fan who brought his lovely girlfriend Kristi to the game from San Clemente. Fun fact: Mike refused to eat ketchup at Gonzaga. He ultimately relented and now lathers ketchup on anything that doesn't eat him first.


Here's a preview:

- The Broncos' inactives include quarterback Peyton Manning, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware, safety T.J. Ward, nose tackle Sylvester Williams, quarterback Christian Ponder, receiver Jordan Norwood and offensive lineman Sam Brenner.

- Brock Osweiler is making an impact off the field around Colorado, too. Just ask two kids stricken with cancer who've formed a friendship with the Broncos' QB. Read more here.

- Sorry, Colorado. You can't loathe Philip Rivers anymore: San Diego's chatty quarterback and Denver's quarterback of the future are good buddies. Read more here.

- Remember when Rivers and the Chargers owned the Broncos? It's not that way anymore. Denver's won seven of their eight last meetings. Get the game prediction here.



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