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PEYTON MANNING SPARKED a historic second-half comeback with three touchdown passes as the Denver Broncos came from 24 points down to beat the San Diego Chargers 35-24.
Manning completed 24-of-30 passes for 309 yards, going 13-of-14 in the second half, to inspire his 47th fourth-quarter victory fightback — matching retired Miami legend Dan Marino for the NFL record in career victory rallies.
“I don’t have them ranked but it sure is special,” Manning said. “It was a pivotal game. We can work on doing some things better and get things turned around.”
The Broncos improved to 3-3, matching San Diego atop the AFC West division. But the Chargers dropped their third game in their past four starts and did so at home by squandering a 24-0 lead.
“Every loss hurts, no matter how it happens… especially when you have a big lead and with so much at stake,” Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. “We’re 3-3 and we have to regroup.”
It was the first time in NFL history that a team which trailed by 24 points eventually won by 10 or more points.
“It’s about playing 60 minutes,” Manning said. “There’s no quit in this team. We have some things to work on but this is a great win.”
Manning, who completed 13 passes in a row at one stage in the second half, was aided by six San Diego turnovers, five of them in the second half.
“Our offense got a touchdown and our defense was able to force some turnovers,” Manning said. “We have shown the ability to come back.”
Rivers threw an 11-yard scoring strike to Antonio Gates with 24 seconds remaining in the second quarter to give the Chargers a 24-0 half-time lead, matching the largest half-time deficit Manning had ever faced.
“Those self-inflicted wounds put us in a hole,” Manning said. “It was kind of deflating to our team in the first half. Everybody stepped up in the second half. Everybody took responsibility.”
Manning connected with Demaryius Thomas on a 29-yard touchdown pass early in the third quarter and Tony Carter returned a fumble recovery off a sack of Rivers 65 yards for a touchdown, pulling the Broncos within 24-14.
Manning added a 7-yard touchdown pass to Decker just 87 seconds into the fourth quarter to pull Denver within 24-21.
After scoring his first NFL touchdown, Carter picked off a Rivers pass for his first NFL interception to give Denver the ball back and Manning made the most of his chance by marching the Broncos into the end zone.
Manning threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley with 9:03 to play to put Denver ahead for the first time at 28-24.
Rivers tried to guide San Diego back for a go-ahead touchdown but threw an interception to Denver’s Chris Harris and the Broncos’ defender raced 46 yards for a final touchdown with 2:05 remaining.