Rapid Reaction: Broncos 30, Chargers 23

November, 18, 2012
11/18/12
8:06
PM ET

DENVER -- A few thoughts from the Denver Broncos 30-23 win over the San Diego Chargers.

What it means: The AFC West race is very close to being over. The Broncos (7-3) have won five straight games while the second-place Chargers (4-6) have lost five of the past six. Denver essentially has a four-game lead with six games to go because of a season sweep and the tiebreaker over the Chargers. Wacky things would have to happen for Denver not to win its second straight AFC West title.

Manning milestones: Denver quarterback Peyton Manning reached two career milestones Sunday. With his 148th career win he tied his boss, John Elway, for the second most wins by a quarterback in NFL history. Manning also threw three touchdown passes Sunday and now has 423 for his career. He entered the day tied with Dan Marino in second place for the most career touchdown passes in NFL history.

Miller magic: Denver second-year linebacker Von Miller had three sacks and forced two fumbles. He is a serious NFL Defensive Player of the Year threat. He was the Defensive Rookie of the Year last year. Miller has 13 sacks this season and 24.5 sacks in his career.

San Diego’s offense struggled: The Chargers had two first downs in the first half and went 3-for-16 on third down for the game. They failed on their first 11 attempts on third down. Spanning three games, Denver’s defense forced opponents to go 0-for-26 on third downs.

Rivers’ turnovers continue: San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw two interceptions and lost a fumble. He has committed 43 turnovers since the start of the 2011 season. It leads the NFL.

Key injuries: Several players were banged up on both sides. Denver running back Willis McGahee (knee), San Diego cornerback Quentin Jammer (calf) and San Diego linebacker Larry English (knee) all came out of the game. There is no initial word on how serious the injuries are.

San Diego’s defense is not the problem: The Chargers’ first nine points were scored by their defense, and the unit has played well for much of the season.

What’s next: Denver visits the Kansas City Chiefs (1-9) and the Chargers host the Baltimore Ravens.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter

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