Yes, Natalie, there is a Santa Claus!! And that Denver game was IN-COM-PLETE!!! Not to mention two consecutive weeks stomping a Manning.
The Chargers smoked the Broncos (in Denver, mind you) in an impressive 27-20 win over the overrated Denver Broncos, thus demonstrating that the Broncos are not a machine, are prone to amassing stupid penalties, and were held to three consecutive three-and-outs by John Pagano's defense.
Philip Rivers--who loves to play in Denver--demonstrated this while amassing his 6th win in the mile high city for a record of 6-2. Rivers was phenomenal as usual this season, tossing 12-of-20 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns while the great Manning went an impressive 27-of 41 for 289 yards, two touchdowns, but one major interception. The Chargers held the ball for 39 minutes, kept the Denver offense off the field, and pressured Manning when he did have the ball. And the defense basically sucked, having given up 27 points.
So what, if anything, did we learn? Aside from the fact that "animated" (that has been used to describe both quarterbacks by these lousy announcers) is only applicable to Rivers. Manning, au contraire, would be better described as "sullen", "pouty", and "brooding". Animated means vivacious, energetic, and spirited is definitely reminiscent of Rivers. And hey, I don't have to mention Manning's name ad nauseum to get my point across.
1. Chargers' WR Keenan Allen should, hands-down, be the league's Offensive Rookie of the Year; scoring two more touchdowns this season. And let's not forget Chargers' Eddie Royal's impressive catches against his former team.
2. Denver WR Wes Welker is an integral part of the Broncos; a "security blanket" as Mike Mayock mentioned. Without him tonight--having suffered his second concussion in four weeks--Manning wasn't as ubiquitous in the air as he usually is, particularly in the slot. Whereas Andre Caldwell did, in fact, step it up, he was nowhere near the uber-player Welker typically is.
3. RB Ryan Mathews has finally arrived this season. In this, his second consecutive 100+ yard game (making five on the season) and second consecutive week with a rushing touchdown, the Chargers are finally reaping the benefits of a healthy player who is reaching his full potential who defintely deserved to be the Chargers' first pick in 2010. And let's not forget Danny Woodhead.
4. The Denver Broncos are NOT the best team in the AFC. They are tied with Kansas Cirty for the current best AFC record; however, who have they really beaten? Baltimore, yes (who doesn't lead the AFC North. Philly is the current NFC east division leader (but the Chargers beat them too). They lost to New England and Indianapolis--two division leaders. So before passing judgement on Kansas City's so-called "easy" schedule, Denver and their fans should take a long look at their own cushy wins and realize that Manning--and their beloved "high-powered" offense is, indeed, mortal.
5. The NFL Network announcers Mike Mayock and Brad Nessler are truly horrible and I'm glad that I don't have to listen to them anymore this season. Also, Alex Flanagan needs some conditioner. I live at an often times frigid high elevation and have found that L'Oreal sulphate-free moisturizing shampoo and conditioner does wonders.
The Chargers host the hapless Raiders and the impressive-yet-inconsistent Chiefs to finish the season. Losses by Baltimore and Miami would keep San Diego's playoff hopes alive. The Broncos are at Houston (whould should be another easy win) and close the season at Oakland. Peace out.