With 10 minutes remaining in the third quarter, San Diego began its drive at their own 24-yard line.
Running back Ryan Mathews ran the ball four straight times, moving the chains once and setting up a third-and-4 from near midfield.
As Philip Rivers dropped back to pass for the first time of the possession, linebacker Von Miller came speeding off edge, sacking Rivers and forcing a fumble. It was Miller’s third sack of the game, tying a career high that he set two weeks ago at Cincinnati, and his 13th of the season, which leads the NFL.
Fellow linebacker Wesley Woodyard recovered the fumble and returned it 12 yards to the San Diego 25-yard line.
Two plays after the turnover, the Broncos faced a third-and-5 on their own 20-yard line. Manning dropped back to pass and didn’t see a receiver initially. Running back Lance Ball provided additional time with a blitz pickup as Manning dodged additional defenders, looking for somewhere to throw.
After stepping up into the pocket, Manning hit wideout Eric Decker on a short pass in the middle of the field, and Decker did the rest of the work, diving over the goal line for a 20-yard touchdown.
The reception was the 100th of Decker’s career, and it also set a single-season career high in receiving yards, surpassing his 612-yard total from 2011. Additionally, Decker is now the third player in team history with at least eight touchdown catches in back-to-back seasons.
The touchdown gave the Broncos a 24-9 lead with 7:23 left in the third quarter.