Emmanuel Sanders takes his turn for touchdowns



DENVER — It is a spinning wheel of fortune, a fast, powerful, migraine-inducing combination of choices for opposing defensive coordinators.

Because Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning can drop back and pick a number, any number, and dial up touchdowns. And Thursday night, in a 35-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers in Sports Authority Field at Mile High, it was wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders’ turn.

“I feel like on any given night it can be anybody’s night,” Manning said.

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Philip Rivers needs more help from supporting cast


DENVER — Considered one of the front-runners for the league MVP through the first half of the season, Philip Rivers acknowledged with his team down 21 points in the second half Thursday that he felt compelled to make something happen.

“We weren’t great, but I thought we moved the ball and fought like crazy to give ourselves a chance,” Rivers said. “It’s not a winning performance. It wasn’t a terrible one.”

However, even elite quarterbacks need supporting casts to help elevate the play of the rest of the unit on the field.

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Chris Harris Jr. kicks off ‘great weekend’


DENVER — A few takeaways from the Denver Broncos’ locker room after the 35-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers:

Cornerback Chris Harris Jr. had a good start to what he said would be a “great weekend” when he nabbed his second interception of the season with 13:35 to play in the second quarter. Harris’ wife Leah is also scheduled to give birth to the couple’s first child and was being induced late Thursday. “We were in the second half and in first half my mind wasn’t really in the game to me and I just told Coach [John Fox] that I was going to turn up and make a play for us and I did that.

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Execution, not effort, lacking for Chargers


SAN DIEGO — Observed and heard in the locker room after the San Diego Chargers’ 35-21 loss to the Denver Broncos:

San Diego players indicated that the team played hard against the Broncos, but just did not execute during the critical moments of the game. The Chargers forced two fumbles but could not recover them. A potential fumble recovery by Kavell Conner on a fumbled kick return by Andre Caldwell was overturned by the replay official. Eric Weddle’s interception at the goal line that would have stopped a Denver touchdown was negated because of a defensive holding call on fellow safety Marcus Gilchrist.

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Rapid Reaction: Denver Broncos


DENVER — A few thoughts on the Denver Broncos’ 35-21 win Thursday over the the San Diego Chargers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

What it means: The Broncos are officially in charge in the AFC West with victories in hand over the Kansas City Chiefs and the Chargers on the way to 6-1. The Broncos have also shown their mettle with wins over the Chargers and San Francisco 49ers in a five-day span to go with victories over the Arizona Cardinals and Indianapolis Colts over the season’s first seven games.

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Rapid Reaction: San Diego Chargers


DENVER — A few thoughts on the San Diego Chargers’ 35-21 loss to the Denver Broncos in this Week 8 contest at Sports Authority Field on Thursday night.

What it means: The Broncos seized control of the AFC West division with an emphatic win over the Chargers. At 6-1, Denver created some breathing room from the Chargers, who fall to 5-3 overall.

Manning breaks the tie: Heading into Thursday’s contest, Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers were tied at 5-5 in regular-season matchups.

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Raiders go with youth to replace Lamarr Woodley


ALAMEDA, Calif. — Now that LaMarr Woodley is out for the long term and will likely go on the injured reserve with a torn biceps injury, the Oakland Raiders are looking to young players to fill his role.

C.J. Wilson will plug into the starting role and Benson Mayowa will continue to get more snaps.

Like Woodley, Wilson and Mayowa are in their first season with the Raiders. Woodley, of course, was a big-ticket signing. He signed a two-year, $12 million deal with $4.

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Eagles will test Cards’ offseason focus on defending tight ends


TEMPE, Ariz. — Tyrann Mathieu was counting in his head.

Did the Arizona Cardinals allow the Philadelphia Eagles’ tight ends to catch two touchdowns last season? Or three? At first he was sure of two because he allowed them in the Eagles’ 24-21 win in Week 13 last season. Then he settled on three.

The way Arizona defended tight ends last season, a higher guess was always the safer guess.

That’s not the case this season.

The Cardinals figured out why tight ends — including Philadelphia’s Brent Celek and Zach Ertz — were a prickly thorn in their side all of 2013, and they’ve worked to correct it.

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Rookie WR Cody Latimer active for Chargers game


DENVER — For the first time since the season opener when Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Cody Latimer played 10 plays on special teams, Latimer was slated to be in uniform for a game. Latimer was among the 46 active players for the Broncos for Thursday night’s game against the San Diego Chargers in Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

Latimer, whose potential impact in the offense has been lauded by several of his teammates, including quarterback Peyton Manning, was the Broncos’ second-round pick in May.

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Brian Urlacher said what we already know about Jay Cutler



Former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher pretty much told everyone what they already know Wednesday, when he said former teammate Jay Cutler fits the category of “elite” in salary only.

Don’t take that as a dig at Cutler or sour grapes on the part of Urlacher, who departed the organization unceremoniously prior to the 2013 season. Even Cutler didn’t seem to take offense to Urlacher’s comments.

“No,” Cutler said when asked if he took issue with Urlacher saying he hasn’t produced like an elite quarterback.

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