EditorsNote: Clarifies sequence in 4th graf
Brandon McManus kicked a game-winning 53-yard field goal as time expired and rookie quarterback Drew Lock passed for two touchdowns in his NFL debut to lift the host Denver Broncos to a 23-20 victory against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon.
Denver (4-8) snapped a two-game losing streak, while Los Angeles (4-8) lost its third straight.
McManus' field goal followed a 37-yard pass interference penalty against the Chargers, and it was the third field goal in the game's final 4:26.
The second of those three came when the Chargers tied the game at 20 on a 46-yard field goal by Michael Badgley with 14 seconds remaining. Los Angeles converted a 4th-and-11 from its own 24 with 2:22 left when quarterback Philip Rivers found Mike Williams down the left sideline for a 38-yard completion.
McManus had kicked a go-ahead 52-yard field goal with 4:26 remaining to put the Broncos ahead 20-17.
Lock finished 18-for-28 passing for 134 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Rivers was 20-for-29 for 265 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
Lock shined at the outset, throwing a pair of first-quarter touchdown passes to Courtland Sutton to help the Broncos take a 17-10 lead into halftime.
Lock's first scoring pass came about as the result of a savvy end zone adjustment from Sutton, who avoided contact from Chargers cornerback Casey Hayward Jr. with his left hand while corralling the 26-yard TD pass from Lock with his right.
Los Angeles trailed 17-3 with halftime approaching, but pulled to within one score as Rivers hooked up with Austin Ekeler for a 30-yard touchdown with 30 seconds left in the second quarter.
McManus erupted at the Broncos sideline at the conclusion of the ensuing possession, throwing his helmet after Denver head coach Vic Fangio elected to bypass a potential NFL record-breaking 65-yard field goal attempt in the closing seconds of the half.
Los Angeles tied the game at 17-all with 12:18 left, as Rivers found Keenan Allen for a 36-yard touchdown pass and Badgley kicked the point-after.
The Chargers had the chance to take the lead after Denzel Perryman intercepted Lock on the next Denver possession, but Badgley's 55-yard field goal attempt clanged off the left upright with 9:20 to go.
Melvin Gordon rushed for 99 yards on 20 carries for the Chargers, while Williams had five receptions for 117 yards. Sutton paced the Broncos with four receptions for 74 yards. Derek Wolfe had two of Denver's three sacks.
--Field Level Media