Chargers blow second straight double-digit lead

Associated Press  |  Last updated October 16, 2012
Another week, another blown double-digit lead in the second half by the San Diego Chargers. And Norv Turner getting asked if it was time he was fired. ''I don't think I'm going to respond to that,'' the Chargers coach said after Peyton Manning rallied the Denver Broncos to a 35-24 victory Monday night. When the Chargers needed to respond in the fourth quarter, Philip Rivers was intercepted three times. ''Those were just poor throws,'' he said. ''I wasn't fooled once out there. There's really no other reason for them.'' Now the Chargers are headed into a bye week searching for answers on why they can't hold onto a lead. Last week, they gave up a 10-point lead in the third quarter of a 31-24 loss at New Orleans. This time, the Chargers (3-3) squandered a 24-point halftime lead and the loss allowed the Broncos (3-3) to tie them atop the AFC West. ''When you lose it's rough, especially in a game where you had a big lead and so much at stake,'' Rivers said. He was 25 of 41 for 242 yards, with two touchdowns and four interceptions and six turnovers - both career highs. ''We didn't start trying to hang on when it was 24-0. We were going,'' Rivers said. Quentin Jammer scored on an 80-yard interception return of Manning in the first half, when the Chargers capitalized on two special teams fumbles by Denver to score 10 points. ''We didn't do enough to win the game,'' said safety Eric Weddle, who had six tackles. ''You can't play two quarters of ball. We knew they were going to come out in the second half, as they've done in every game. ''Peyton made some unbelievable throws in the second half.'' The last time they met, San Diego intercepted Manning four times in a 36-14 win in 2010 when the star quarterback was still with Indianapolis. But Manning dominated the second half this time. He threw three touchdown passes and Tony Carter and Chris Harris scored off turnovers by Rivers. Manning was 13 of 14 for 167 yards in the second half. He had been 1-5 in his last six games against San Diego, all with Indianapolis. Manning began the comeback when he hit Demaryius Thomas on a 29-yard touchdown pass on the opening drive of the second half. On the ensuing San Diego possession, Elvis Dumervil stripped the ball from Rivers and Carter ran 65 yards for a touchdown, holding up the ball in celebration as he approached the end zone. Denver then sacked Rivers to force a punt and Manning capped the next drive with a 7-yard touchdown pass to Eric Decker to pull to 24-21. Manning's 21-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Stokley gave Denver its first lead of the game, 28-24 with 9:03 left. Stokley outleaped defensive back Marcus Gilchrist to catch the ball, and then got both feet down before tumbling out of the end zone. That score was set up by Carter's interception. Harris sealed the victory with a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown with 2:05 left. It was his second pick of the game. Jammer intercepted Manning and returned it 80 yards for his first career touchdown, and Antonio Gates caught his second TD pass of the game in the second quarter, extending the Chargers' lead to 24-0. Before Jammer's TD, the Broncos appeared on their way to their first score of the game with Manning's 55-yard pass to a wide-open Decker. But Decker tripped himself at the Chargers' 40, got up and was tackled at the 30-yard line. ''We're capable of becoming a great team,'' Turner said. ''There's a lot of people who are going to say we can't come back from this. I got a lot of faith in our guys.''
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