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Chargers Force 5 Turnovers, Still Fall 27-20 To Broncos

Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, right, is sacked by San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram during the second half in an NFL football game in Denver, Jan. 3, 2016.
Associated Press
Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, right, is sacked by San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram during the second half in an NFL football game in Denver, Jan. 3, 2016.

Hard to imagine anyone would love this in L.A., either.

The Chargers were handed five turnovers — basically handed the game — and couldn't figure out how to win on Sunday. They fell 27-20 to the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos in what could be their last game as the San Diego Chargers.

"If that game doesn't summarize our season, I don't know what does," said coach Mike McCoy, whose team finished 4-12 and wound up winless in the AFC West.


Now, the Chargers are headed into an offseason filled with uncertainty: Will they remain in San Diego or bolt to Los Angeles? Will McCoy remain in charge? Dominoes could start falling Monday, when teams can file for relocation.

Nobody was thinking much about the big picture after their last loss. Only about the game that got away.

The Chargers forced Broncos starter Brock Osweiler and the offense into five turnovers. Only problem was, they converted all of those miscues into a measly 10 points. That was good for a 13-7 lead with 8:18 left in the third quarter.

But that's when Broncos coach Gary Kubiak summoned Manning, who helped deliver a win for the Broncos (12-4). Along with it, Denver got the No. 1 seed in the AFC for the playoffs.

"Did it give them a spark? Sure. The place went crazy," quarterback Philip Rivers said. "I'm kind of numb, really. Just how it's been — just been the same.


"Every week we've lost the same, stinking way. I'm not trying to lessen the seriousness or how bad of a season it was, but it's gone. It's gone. Chalk it up to some missed throws, missed plays, missed tackles, missed all-that."

Soon, maybe a missing team, too.

Last month, San Diego city and county officials made their final pitch to the NFL in what has been a contentious effort to keep the Chargers from moving to the Los Angeles area. The Chargers, Raiders and St. Louis Rams are all expected to file for relocation.

Asked if this loss hurts more because it could be the last time wears a uniform for the city, Rivers simply said: "No. I don't think so."

Rivers did give McCoy a vote of confidence, saying he'd like to see his coach back on the sideline next season — wherever they might be playing.

"Everyone has a hand in why we're 4-12," Rivers said. "Everyone in that building.

"I haven't done my job good enough, either. Can you say Mike's done good enough? I don't know. None of us have. Considering what we've dealt with and the close games we've lost, is that an easy answer — 'Oh, just get a new coach. We'll be 12-4.' That's not true."

Rivers completed 21 of 35 passes for 228 yards. That was 11 yards shy of breaking the team's single-season mark held by Hall of Famer Dan Fouts, who threw for 4,802 yards in 1981.

That Rivers was even on his feet to close the season was a minor miracle, especially against the top-ranked defense in the NFL. His line was certainly decimated by injuries Sunday, losing center Trevor Robinson (shoulder), guard/tackle Chris Hairston (abdomen) and guard/tackle Tyreek Burwell, who was carted off the field with a right knee injury.

"As many times as we've thrown it and as few times as we've been sacked in relation to that, and really hit for that matter, I'm as healthy as I've been after a week 17 in any year I can remember," Rivers said. "That's a credit to how much they fight, how much they care."

Longtime receiver Malcom Floyd left the game with a concussion as he took his last snaps in the league. He didn't add a catch to a career that's included 321 career receptions for 5,550 yards and 34 TDs.

"You hate to see him not be able to finish the game," Rivers said. "But this by no means puts any damper on anything he's done for 12 years. He's had a heck of a run."