Chargers beat Broncos, stay in playoff chase
Justin Herbert was 22-of-31 for 237 yards passing and two touchdowns, Austin Ekeler ran for a score, and the host Los Angeles Chargers beat the Denver Broncos 34-13 on Sunday.
Mike Williams and Keenan Allen had touchdown receptions to help Herbert set a franchise record for TD passes in a season with 35.
Drew Lock was 18-of-25 for 245 yards passing and a score, and Noah Fant had six catches for 92 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos (7-9), who were eliminated from postseason contention.
Ekeler got the Chargers — who remain in the playoff hunt at 9-7 — on the board with a 3-yard touchdown run just 3:11 into the game, making it 7-0.
Dustin Hopkins’ first field goal of the day, from 19 yards, made the score 10-0 early in the second quarter, and Los Angeles added to the lead with Herbert’s 8-yard touchdown pass to Allen with 14 seconds left in the first half.
The Broncos were able to cut into the lead later in the half. Lock hit Melvin Gordon for 24 yards on the first play to get to midfield, and then hit Kendall Hinton for another 8 yards at the Chargers’ 43-yard line.
Brandon McManus kicked a 61-yard field goal as time expired to make the score 17-3 at intermission.
On its first possession of the second half, Los Angeles drove to the Denver 5 but had to settle for a 23-yard field goal from Hopkins.
The Broncos went on a 12-play drive and went for it on fourth down from the Chargers’ 1, but Gordon’s touchdown run was nullified by a penalty. They settled for a 23-yard field goal from McManus to make it 20-6 just seconds into the fourth quarter.
Los Angeles broke it open when Roberts returned the ensuing kickoff 101 yards for a touchdown and a 27-6 lead.
Denver turned the ball over on downs on its next drive, and Herbert hit Williams with a 45-yard touchdown pass to make it 34-6 with 10:18 left.
The Broncos answered with Lock’s 5-yard scoring strike to Fant with 6:31 left, but the Chargers closed out the victory.
–Field Level Media