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11/18/2012 10:25 PM EST
Manning throws for 3 TDs in Broncos 30-23 win
DENVER 30, SAN DIEGO 23

By EDDIE PELLS
AP National Writer

DENVER (AP) -- Passing by Peyton. Dancing by Von.



On the day Peyton Manning threw three touchdown passes and drew
even with John Elway in the career win column, it was Broncos
linebacker Von Miller who stole the show - not only with the
three sacks and two forced fumbles that rattled Chargers
quarterback Philip Rivers, but with the ever-evolving sack dance
he uses to celebrate.



"You've got to show some excitement when you make a play,"
Miller said after spearheading a 30-23 victory Sunday that gave
Denver a three-game lead over San Diego in the AFC West. "It's
hard enough as it is out there."



But the Broncos (7-3) are making this look easy.



With their fifth straight win, they now have a three-game lead
plus the tiebreaker over the rapidly fading Chargers (4-6), who
lost their fifth of six and are now playing as much for jobs -
namely coach Norv Turner's - as a playoff spot.



"They're not losing four of six, I can guarantee you that,"
Rivers said of the Broncos, in essence conceding the division
race.



Manning tied Elway with 148 career regular-season victories,
second place on the all-time list of starting quarterbacks, with
Brett Favre still 38 wins ahead.



And Miller? He now leads the league in sacks with 13, after
jumping ahead of Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt, who had one
in Houston's win over Jacksonville on Sunday to reach 11 1/2 for
the year.



Miller celebrated his first sack with a pair of somersaults,
then by getting up and doing jumping jacks with his arms bent at
the elbow while he moved to the imaginary music. He said he was
inspired by Sonic the Hedgehog, a character in a video game.



His teammates are every bit as impressed with the production as
the celebrations.



"That boy works his butt off and plays with a lot of confidence,
and I see him doing it for a long time," cornerback Champ Bailey
said.



Miller's disruptiveness contributed to what was, overall, a
choppy day for both quarterbacks.



Manning threw for 270 yards on 25-for-42 passing but also threw
an interception that got returned for a touchdown by Eric Weddle
to open the scoring and got sacked in the end zone by Shaun
Phillips for a safety.



Even with those struggles, Manning reached 24 touchdown passes
for the season and remained on pace for a 4,700-yard year.



"Everybody's got to have an angle on it," Manning said when
asked if this win felt more difficult than it should have.
"That's not how I see it. We beat a good football team. I kind
of throw the records out the window. To score some points, and
to settle for some field goals, and you may actually punt,
that's part of playing against a good defense. We'll take the
win and run with it."



Midway through the third quarter, the Chargers defense had
accounted for all their scoring. That's when Rivers picked
things up. All but 60 of his 258 yards came after San Diego
trailed 24-9 and when Danario Alexander leapt over cornerback
Tony Carter for a 21-yard touchdown, the Chargers were within
30-23 with 1:24 left.



The Broncos recovered the onside kick and ran some time off the
clock. After a punt, Denver defensive end Elvis Dumervil sacked
Rivers to seal the victory and extend a Denver winning streak
that started Oct. 15 in San Diego, when Manning rallied Denver
from 24-0 down for a 35-24 win. It was the first time a team had
trailed by that much and gone on to win by double digits.



In the rematch, Turner's defense held the Chargers close, but
the offense and Rivers took too long to get going. San Diego
only had two first downs in the first half.



"We were not able to get the run going, we had a tough time
protecting and they covered us down the field," Turner said.
"So, the combination of those three things makes it difficult."



Overshadowed by Manning's arrival in Denver this year has been
the blossoming of the Broncos defense with Miller as the
headliner.



Dumervil's late sack gave the Broncos four for the game and 35
for the season. The constant presence of Broncos defenders in
the backfield rattled Rivers, who had two touchdowns and two
interceptions.



"This is the best defensive team they've had since I've been
playing them," said the nine-year veteran.



When Rivers completed a 15-yard pass to Malcom Floyd in the
third quarter on third-and-10, it snapped a string of 26
straight holds for the Denver `D' on third down, dating to the
end of a win over Cincinnati two weeks ago. It was the longest
streak in the NFL in 10 years.



Miller is putting himself in the conversation for Defensive
Player of the Year.



He now has eight sacks over the past five weeks, and joined
Reggie White, Jevon Kearse and Dwight Freeney as only the fourth
player to record 11 or more sacks in his first two seasons. But
the second-year player's favorite player is Derrick Thomas. He
wears No. 58 as a tribute to the late Chiefs Hall of Famer, and
though Miller shuns comparisons, his teammates know they could
be looking at a future superstar.



"He's just getting started. He's crazy. Crazy day for him,"
Dumervil said.



NOTES: Broncos RB Willis McGahee left with an injured right knee
and did not return. ... Playing in his first game after missing
the start of the season due to suspension, Broncos LB D.J.
Williams finished with four tackles and one for a loss. ...
Weddle's interceptions return for a score gave the Chargers
defense two touchdowns against Manning this season.



---



Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

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