Conviction Notice

The Chargers put the rest of the AFC West on notice with a Rocky Mountain rout of the Denver Broncos. San Diego piled up 41 points, 484 yards of offense and three takeaways in humiliating the Broncos, 41-3. The Chargers move into a three-way tie for second place in the AFC West and host the division-leading Oakland Raiders in week six.

For the first time in a long time, everything went right for the Chargers. Philip Rivers completed 13 of 18 passes for 270 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He also ran in a 2-yard score on the opening drive, the first rushing touchdown of his career. The Broncos had not allowed an opening drive touchdown in 22 games, which was the longest active streak in the NFL.

LaDainian Tomlinson had a modest day on the ground but found other ways to torment the Denver defense. Tomlinson ran 21 times for 67 yards and caught three passes for 73 yards. Backup Michael Turner picked up the rushing slack, gaining 147 yards on ten carries – a healthy 14.7-yard average.

Turner did the bulk of his damage on a 74-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Turner was escorted down the sidelines by Kassim Osgood and Malcom Floyd, both of whom had stellar blocking games.

Antonio Gates joined Turner above the century mark, the first time Gates had done so in Denver. Gates hauled in seven passes for 113 yards and a touchdown. Three of Gates' receptions resulted in third-down conversions, helping the Chargers complete 60% of their third-down opportunities.

Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates celebrate a touchdown.
Christian Petersen/Getty

The only non-All Pro to catch a pass was Vincent Jackson. The third-year receiver caught three passes and made each of the count. He caught a 24-yarder on the opening drive of the second half; he nabbed a 45-yarder on second-and-33; and he scored on a 15-yard corner route over Dre' Bly.

The defense did its part as well, forcing three turnovers and holding the Broncos under 300 yards of total offense. Marlon McCree led the charge with a forced fumble and a team-best third interception. Quentin Jammer recovered the fumble and chipped in a team-best seven tackles.

The Chargers benefited from stellar inside linebacker play. Matt Wilhelm returned from a calf injury to finish second on the team with six tackles. Stephen Cooper contributed five tackles and a sack, the first sack by an inside linebacker this season.

The defense played its best when the stakes were highest. When the Broncos drove to the San Diego 14-yard line late in the first half, the defense stiffened and forced a field goal. The key stop came on third-and-6 when Clinton Hart made a great open-field tackle on rookie running back Selvin Young.

The defense ensured there would be no comeback, forcing the Broncos to turn the ball over on downs twice.

The special teams made their presence felt, too. Carlos Polk stripped the recently signed Brian Clark on his second kickoff return. The ball bounced into the arms of rookie Brandon Siler, who returned it 23 yards for his first career touchdown. Nate Kaeding made field goals of 20 and 45 yards and added five extra points.

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