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Chargers down Super Bowl champions in Thursday night upset

For once, San Diego figured out a way NOT to lose.

Philip Rivers finally saw his team hold onto a lead.
Philip Rivers finally saw his team hold onto a lead.

THE SAN DIEGO Chargers held off the Denver Broncos for a 21-13 victory at Qualcomm Stadium.

Broncos coach Gary Kubiak was not at the game because of migraines and special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis served as Denver’s interim head coach on Thursday.

The Broncos were plagued by 12 penalties for 103 yards, the most crucial of which was a holding call — the fifth of the night — that negated a 20-yard C.J. Anderson touchdown that would have made it a one-score game with just over four minutes remaining.

San Diego harassed second-year quarterback Trevor Siemian most of the night with rookie defensive end Joey Bosa providing most of the pressure.

Siemian finished 30 of 50 for 230 yards and a touchdown.

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 178 yards and passed Hall of Famer Dan Fouts as the franchise’s all-time passing leader.

San Diego had been very good in first halves of games this season, but the second half had been a different story. The Chargers had lost four games by a total of 14 points with each defeat coming after they held a late second-half lead.

The Chargers had also not had much recent success within their own division and especially against the Broncos. The Chargers had lost 10 straight games to AFC West opponents and dropped nine of their last 10 games with the Broncos. The Broncos had not lost an AFC West road game since 2010, a span of 15 outings.

“I was afraid we were going to find another way (to lose),” Rivers told CBS Sports. “We finally won a division game. We found a way to win.

“Winning a division game is big.”

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