EditorsNote: Edit 1: Updates playoff specifics
Philip Rivers passed for 176 yards and a touchdown, linebacker Kyle Emanuel returned a fumble for another score and the Los Angeles Chargers beat the host Denver Broncos in their regular-season finale 23-9 on Sunday.
With Kansas City’s win over Oakland on Sunday, the Chargers are locked into the No. 5 seed and will play at Baltimore next Sunday at 1:05 ET on CBS.
Mike Williams had 65 yards receiving and a score and Austin Ekeler ran for 58 yards and a touchdown for Los Angeles (12-4).
Case Keenum was 31-for-48 passing for 292 yards and a touchdown and an interception for Denver (6-10).
The Chargers tuned up for the playoffs against a Denver team that could be heading for some big changes this offseason. Broncos head coach Vance Joseph is on the hot seat as the Broncos ended the season with four straight losses.
With nothing at stake the Broncos started the game with a failed onside kick but Los Angeles couldn’t take advantage.
Neither team showed much on offense in the first half, so it was the Chargers’ defense that finally got points on the board. Keenum threw a lateral to Royce Freeman but the running back couldn’t control the ball and Emanuel scooped it up and ran 18 yards for a touchdown with 5:32 left in the first half.
The Broncos managed to score after a bizarre sequence. Keenum’s pass to Matt LaCosse went off the tight end and was intercepted by Jahleel Addae. He returned it to the 16 but fumbled when he tried to lateral it to a teammate.
Denver recovered and seven plays later Brandon McManus kicked a 28-yard field goal.
Los Angeles took advantage of another Broncos turnover in the third quarter. Wide receiver Tim Patrick’s fumble deep in Denver territory led to Rivers’ 3-yard touchdown pass to Williams to make it 14-3.
Denver scored on Keenum’s 20-yard touchdown pass to Andy Janovich with 10:10 left in the game but the two-point attempt was intercepted by Casey Hayward Jr. and returned 102 yards for two points and a 16-9 lead.
Ekeler put it away with a 1-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter.
—Field Level Media