With 4:52 remaining in the first half, San Diego gained possession at its own 30-yard line following a Denver punt.
The Chargers moved the chains once with a defensive holding penalty, but the Denver defense came up with another third-down stop – their 22nd straight, dating back to Week 9 – on a 14-yard sack by linebacker Von Miller.
The sack brought up a fourth-and-18 for San Diego and made Miller the fourth player since 1982 to record at least 11 sacks in each of his first two seasons.
Miller’s sack led to a greater momentum swing in Denver’s favor, as linebacker Nate Irving blocked the San Diego punt attempt and the Broncos took over at the Chargers 31-yard line.
On the very first play of the possession, Manning pump-faked once and then connected with a wide open Brandon Stokley in the back right corner of the end zone for a 31-yard touchdown.
The score, Stokley’s fifth of the year, gave the Broncos a 17-7 advantage with 1:44 left in the first half.