CARSON, Calif. (AP) — Phillip Lindsay ran for 114 yards, Denver's defense forced three turnovers and the Broncos got their first win under Vic Fangio by defeating the Los Angeles Chargers 20-13 on Sunday.
Joe Flacco completed 14 of 20 passes for 162 yards and a touchdown as Denver (1-4) raced to a 17-0 lead in the second quarter and held on for the 500th victory in franchise history.
Los Angeles (2-3) struggled most of the day and had two turnovers inside the Denver 5. The Chargers got within 17-10 midway through the fourth quarter, but Denver's Brandon McManus put it out of reach with a 46-yard field goal with 1:55 remaining.
Chase McLaughlin's 32-yard field goal brought LA back within a touchdown with 15 seconds remaining, but Denver recovered the onside kick to put it away.
Philip Rivers was 32 of 48 for 211 yards with two interceptions. Melvin Gordon was held to 31 yards rushing in his first game back after a holdout. Fellow running back Austin Ekeler had 15 receptions for 86 yards.
The Broncos dominated from the start and scored touchdowns on their first two drives for the first time in 17 games. Lindsay's 4-yard run up the middle marked the first time Denver scored on its opening drive this season. The Broncos didn't have a play over 20 yards on the first drive over the first four games. But Flacco had a 26-yard strike to tight end Jeff Heuerman and Lindsay had a 21-yard gain off left guard to put the Broncos deep in Chargers territory two plays into the game.
After a Chargers punt, Denver took a two-TD lead when Courtland Sutton went 70 yards up the left sideline. Sutton caught the ball at the Chargers 45, slipped out of an attempted tackle by Rayshawn Jenkins and then eluded a diving Roderic Teemer for this third touchdown in the past two games.
McManus added a 40-yard field goal to give Denver a 17-0 halftime lead.
Los Angeles had two chances to score in the first half, but came up empty both times. New kicker McLaughlin's 48-yard field goal was partially blocked midway through the second quarter. Ekeler then was stopped at the Broncos 1 by Kareem Jackson and fumbled as he tried to reach the goal line. It is the first time since 2012 the Chargers have been shut out in the first half at home.
The Chargers' red zone woes continued in the third quarter. Kyzir White's interception of Flacco gave them the ball at the Denver 7, but Rivers tried to throw it into double coverage and was picked off by Alexander Johnson in the end zone on third-and-goal from the 2.
The Chargers finally get on the board with 31 seconds remaining in the third quarter when Desmond King returned a punt 68 yards. It is the second punt return TD in his career, the eighth player in franchise history with multiple scores.
Los Angeles closed to 17-10 on McLaughlin's 45-yard field goal with 6:52 remaining.
Gordon had 38 scrimmage yards in his first game back after a 64-day holdout due to a contract dispute. The Chargers got him involved quickly with a 4-yard screen pass on their first play. Gordon reported back on Sept. 26 and was activated prior to last week's game at Miami but did not play.
The Chargers came into the game averaging 103.5 rushing yards but were held to 35. The Broncos allowed 225 yards to Jacksonville's Leonard Fournette a week ago and had the third-worst run defense.
Broncos: CB De'Vante Bausby was strapped to a backboard and taken off the field on a cart during the second quarter. He was injured when he collided with Johnson while making a tackle on Ekeler. Bausby was taken to a local hospital and was reported to have movement in his arms and legs. ... LB Justin Hollins suffered a knee injury during the second half.
Chargers; C Mike Pouncey suffered a neck injury during the first half and did not return.
Broncos: return home to face Tennessee next Sunday.
Chargers: host Pittsburgh next Sunday night.
AROUND THE NFL SUNDAY
Teddy Bridgewater provided the type of performance the New Orleans Saints were hoping for since he replaced the injured Drew Brees in Week 2. Bridgewater completed 26 of 34 passes for 314 yards and four touchdowns in the Saints’ 31-24 win over the Buccaneers. It was his most productive performance since suffering a major knee injury during 2016 training camp, his third year in the NFL. Two of his scoring throws went to Michael Thomas, while Jared Cook and Ted Ginn Jr. grabbed the others. Thomas finished with 11 catches for 182 yards as New Orleans improved to 4-1 overall and 3-0 with Bridgewater as the starter. Bridgewater threw for fewer than 200 yards in each of his first two starts this season before posting a QB rating of 131.2 against a Tampa Bay defense that came in ranked 31st against the pass.
The Colts handed the Chiefs their first loss as Marlon Mack ran for 132 yards and Adam Vinatieri nailed four field goals to lead Indianapolis to a 19-13 victory. The 3-2 Colts allowed points on the Chiefs' first two possessions before shutting them out until Harrison Butker's field goal with 1:16 to go. Patrick Mahomes threw for 321 yards and a touchdown, but the Chiefs managed just 36 yards rushing despite the return of top running back Damien Williams from an injury.
Aaron Jones scored a career-high four touchdowns and the 4-1 Packers bounced back from their only loss by hanging on for a 34-24 victory over the Cowboys. Jones’ fourth TD of the afternoon gave Green Bay a 31-3 lead in the third quarter. Dak Prescott threw for 463 yards and Amari Cooper had 226 yards receiving for the Cowboys, who are 3-2 following their second straight loss.
The Patriots rolled to a 33-7 win over the Redskins as 42-year-old Tom Brady threw for 348 yards and three touchdowns. Brady moved past Brett Favre into third place on the career list with 71,923 yards passing. Redskins QB Colt McCoy was sacked six times, marking the first time in franchise history New England has four straight games with at least five sacks. The Pats are 5-0, and the Redskins are 0-5.
The Bills are 4-1 after Josh Allen passed for 219 yards and two scores in a 14-7 win over the Titans. Jordan Phillips had three of Buffalo’s five sacks of Tennessee quarterback Marcus Mariota. The Bills allowed just 252 net yards and have won three consecutive games away from Buffalo for the first time since 2004. The Titans are 2-3.
A fumble by JuJu Smith-Schuster led to Justin Tucker’s 46-yard field goal in overtime as the Ravens outlasted the Steelers, 26-23. Lamar Jackson threw for 161 yards with a touchdown and three picks for Baltimore, which forced overtime on Tucker’s 48-yard boot with 10 seconds left in the fourth quarter. Steelers quarterback Mason Rudolph threw for 131 yards and a score before suffering a concussion following a hit to the chin by Baltimore safety Earl Thomas. The outcome puts the Ravens at 3-2 and drops Pittsburgh to 1-4.
Kirk Cousins, Adam Thielen and Dalvin Cook shredded the Giants’ defense in Minnesota’s 28-10 victory at the Meadowlands. Cousins completed 22 of 27 for a season-high 306 yards and had touchdown passes of 15 and 9 yards to Thielen. Cook ran for 132 yards and Thielen had seven receptions for 130 yards as the 3-2 Vikings dropped the Giants to 2-3.
Carolina picked up its third straight win since an 0-2 start as Christian McCaffrey tied a career high with 237 yards from scrimmage and scored three touchdowns in a 34-27 downing of the Jaguars. Brian Burns returned a fumble 56 yards for a touchdown and had a strip-sack in the fourth quarter. Reggie Bonnafon had a 59-yard touchdown run to put Carolina (3-2) up by seven with 3:34 left. Jacksonville is 2-3.
The Eagles scored two defensive touchdowns and Carson Wentz threw for 189 yards and a score in the Eagles’ 31-6 dismantling of the 0-5 Jets. Nate Gerry returned an interception 51 yards for a score and Orlando Scandrick took a strip-sack the distance for a 44-yard TD. Brandon Graham had a career-high three of Philadelphia's 10 sacks to help the Eagles improve to 3-2.
The Raiders blew a 17-0 lead before Josh Jacobs capped a 97-yard drive by scoring his second TD of the game with 1:57 left to send Oakland past the Bears, 24-21 in London. Chicago went ahead with three touchdowns in the third quarter, including a pair of TD passes from Chase Daniel to Allen Robinson. The Raiders intercepted Chicago backup Chase Daniel with 1:14 to improve to seal the victory, leaving both teams 3-2.
Deshaun Watson threw for a career-high 426 yards and tied his personal best with five touchdown passes as the Texans outscored the Falcons, 53-32. Will Fuller caught three TD passes and had a career-best 217 yards receiving, while Darren Fells had two touchdown grabs for the Texans. Houston improved to 302 and handed Atlanta its third consecutive loss since a 1-1 start.
The Cardinals picked up their first win under new coach Kliff Kingsbury by getting a 31-yard field goal from Zane Gonzalez on the last play of a 26-23 decision over the winless Bengals. Kyler Murray completed a 24-yard pass to David Johnson and scrambled 24 yards to get in range for Gonzalez's fourth field goal. The reigning Heisman Trophy winner ran for a career-high 93 yards and completed 20 of 32 passes for 253 yards without an interception to help Arizona move to 1-3-1. The Bengals are 0-5.