Denver Broncos vs San Diego Chargers match report: Emmanuel Sanders catches three Peyton Manning touchdown passes in 35-21 win

Denver Broncos 35 San Diego Chargers 21

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Peyton Manning and Emmanuel Sanders connected for three touchdowns Thursday in the Denver Broncos' 35-21 victory over the San Diego Chargers.

With the Chargers' secondary double-teaming receiver Demaryius Thomas, Sanders caught TD throws of 2, 31 and 3 yards. The last one followed Chris Harris Jr's interception of a flustered Philip Rivers.

Rookie running back Juwan Thompson added two touchdown runs as the Broncos (6-1) tightened their grip on the AFC West over the Chargers (5-3), who lost their second straight game.

Manning finished 25 of 35 for 286 yards. Sanders caught nine passes for 120 yards, and Ronnie Hillman added 109 yards on 20 carries.

One of GM John Elway's prized free agent acquisitions last off-season, Sanders called this "wide receivers' heaven" when he joined the Broncos in the spring. He spent his first five games in a Broncos uniform piling up the yards - 473 of them - but wistfully wishing to become the 45th player to catch a touchdown pass from Manning.

He finally did it by hauling in the first of Manning's four TD throws Sunday night when the five-time MVP broke Brett Favre's career touchdown throw total (510 to 508).

Each time Thompson scored, Rivers and the Chargers responded with 80-yard drives that ended with touchdown catches by tight end Antonio Gates.

His two scores gave him an NFL-best nine, tied with Denver's star tight end, Julius Thomas, who was held out of the end zone for the second straight game.

Gates' first score was a 4-yard grab on fourth down, his second a 10-yard catch with 9 1/2 minutes left that made it 35-21.

River finished 30 of 41 for 252 yards with three TDs and two interceptions.

Brandon McManus missed a 53-yard field goal with six minutes remaining, giving the Chargers great field position, but safety Rahim Moore intercepted Rivers' pass to Malcolm Floyd at the Denver 4 and the Broncos grounded it out from there.

Sanders sliced across the back of the end zone to haul in his first TD from 2 yards out. His second score was a 31-yard beauty in which he roared past cornerback Richard Marshall and hauled in Manning's pass as he sprinted across the goal line to make it 14-7 with 32 seconds left to in the first half.

Denver's second scoring drive came after officials reversed a Bubba Caldwell fumble on the kickoff following Rivers' 2-yard TD strike to Keenan Allen, a score that followed Gates' 31-yard catch on third-and-20 from the Denver 33