Philip Rivers threw for 178 yards and one touchdown, passing Hall of Famer Dan Fouts to become San Diego’s career passing leader, and the Chargers held off the Denver Broncos 21-13 on Thursday night.
The victory may have saved embattled San Diego coach Mike McCoy’s job . The Chargers, 2-4, were coming off a mistake-filled loss at Oakland, and earlier in the season lost three games in which they led at the 2-minute warning. There has been increasing fan discontent with the conservative McCoy, and the Chargers are trying to convince voters to approve a $1.1 billion public handout for a new downtown stadium in the form of an increase in the hotel occupancy tax.
The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos were coached by special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis after Gary Kubiak was ordered by doctors to sit this one out because of a migraine condition that mimics strokes.
The five-time defending AFC West champion Broncos, 4-2, were mostly sluggish behind Trevor Siemian, who was back at quarterback after rookie Paxton Lynch struggled in a loss to Atlanta. They lost their second straight game and had their NFL-record streak of 15 straight divisional road victories snapped.
The Chargers ended their streak of 10 straight divisional losses dating to 2014.
Rivers, in his 13th season with the Chargers and 11th as starter, has 43,094 career yards passing. Fouts threw for 43,040 yards in 15 seasons with the Bolts.
Rivers threw a 5-yard scoring pass to rookie tight end Hunter Henry to cap the game’s first possession. Rivers finished 18 of 29.
Otherwise, the Chargers had to settle for Josh Lambo’s career-high four field goals, of 37, 21, 31 and 32 yards.
Denver didn’t get across the 50 on its own accord until there were just 2 minutes left in the third quarter. The Broncos’ first score came after a punt bounced off San Diego’s Travis Benjamin and Denver recovered at the San Diego 11. The refs initially ruled that the Broncos downed the punt, but Denver challenged and got the ball. Brandon McManus kicked a 29-yard field goal.
Siemian was 30 of 50 for 230 yards, with a 5-yard scoring pass to Bennie Fowler midway through the fourth quarter.
McManus kicked a 46-yard field goal with 27 seconds left, and Denver recovered the onside kick at its 46. It got to the San Diego 45 with 8 seconds to go before Siemian’s desperation pass was batted down by Dexter McCoil.