DENVER – Philip Rivers outplayed Peyton Manning and the San Diego Chargers sprung a 27-20 upset Thursday night over the Denver Broncos.
Rivers threw for 166 yards and two scores to Keenan Allen and kept the Chargers’ offense on the field for nearly 39 minutes.
Manning ended up with 289 yards and only two touchdowns. The Broncos (11-3) fell at home in the regular season for the first time in 14 games. San Diego had a 38:49 to 21:11 advantage in time of possession.
The Chargers (7-7) snapped Denver’s 10-game AFC West winning streak and stayed in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Denver’s road to the AFC West title and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs got bumpier. The Broncos now have as many losses as Kansas City and New England. They hold the tiebreaker against the Chiefs but not the Patriots.
Bears say Cutler will start Sunday
Chicago Bears coach Marc Trestman said Jay Cutler will start Sunday at Cleveland after missing four games because of a high left ankle sprain.
Josh McCown goes back to a reserve role after excelling.
I don’t think that risk was part of this decision, Trestman said. This decision was made a long time ago – that was that when Jay was ready to play, that he would play.
Trestman said Cutler is 100 percent or certainly close to it if not.
Rodgers hoping to play Sunday
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ checklist for playing Sunday has two primary items on it: taking the majority of first-team snaps in practice today, and getting good results from a scan on his healing left collarbone.
If both those things happen, Rodgers could be back under center for the first time since breaking his collarbone Nov. 4 against Chicago.
Asked after Thursday’s practice if he is holding out hope of playing Sunday in Dallas, Rodgers paused before replying, Yes.
He says he’ll need to get most of the work in Friday’s practice after sharing snaps with backup Matt Flynn for the past two days, and the team will likely want team physician Patrick McKenzie to examine him. Rodgers’ last CT scan was done on Dec. 3 and did not show sufficient healing in the bone to get him cleared to play.
Around the league
Former NFL stars Jerry Rice and Deion Sanders will divide up the skill players for the Pro Bowl teams at a beachside draft broadcast live on television.
League officials announced that the three-hour Pro Bowl draft would be held Jan. 22 at an oceanfront estate in Oahu’s resort area of Ko Olina.
Alumni team captains Rice and Sanders will pick the first 11 players each a day earlier among guards, centers, fullbacks, punters, special teams players and interior linemen. The rest of the 66 players will be taken the next day.
Atlanta coach Mike Smith has not ruled out safety Thomas DeCoud (concussion), who has not practiced this week, for Sunday’s game against Washington.