DENVER -- Now, Peyton Manning gets a chance to rest. Big question: Does he really need a break? Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers kept Manning on the sideline most of the game and handed the Denver Broncos and unexpected and harmful 27-20 loss Thursday night. Rivers threw two touchdown passes to Keenan Allen and kept the Chargers offence on the field for nearly 39 minutes, keeping their playoff hopes alive while turning Denvers supposedly easy road to the AFC West title and top seeding in the conference into something much different. "We didnt play well, didnt stay on the field, didnt have the ball much and, when we did, we didnt do much with it," Manning said. The Broncos gained 13 yards on the 13 plays they ran after taking a 10-3 lead late in the first quarter. That covered four drives during which they went three-and-out three times and picked up a total of one first down. "The longer you keep the ball and the less he has it, the better off youre going to be," said Chargers coach Mike McCoy, Mannings former offensive co-ordinator. Rivers finished 12 for 20 for 166 yards and improved to 28-6 in December. Ryan Matthews matched his season high with 127 yards on 29 carries. After Denvers long dry spell on offence, San Diego led 24-10, and though the Broncos (11-3) had overcome double-digit deficits four times this season to win, it wasnt happening this time. They pulled within seven and Manning got the ball on the Denver 3 with 5:50 left. He moved the Broncos 30 yards in two plays with the help of a penalty. But the Chargers maligned defence produced some pass rush and forced a bad throw, which linebacker Thomas Keiser picked off at the Denver 33. The Chargers (7-7) got a field goal to go up 10. Denver answered with a field goal but couldnt recover the onside kick. Mannings final numbers were decent -- 27 for 41 for 289 yards and two touchdowns -- but padded during desperation time. As most veterans do, especially this time of year, Manning griped about the short turnaround between a Sunday and Thursday game, the likes of which have become more common since the NFL started scheduling midweek contests for almost every week. Adding to the fatigue: Denver ran 91 plays on offence while scoring 51 points Sunday in a blowout over Tennessee. "Did the (91) plays on offence take a toll? I cant answer that," Manning said. Now, hell get 10 days to chew on it. It was the first regular-season loss at home for Denver in 14 tries, dating to last September against Houston, back when Manning was still getting his footing in Denver and the Texans, who happen to be Denvers next opponent, were still good. "A Thursday night game, second division game, youre never sure what youre going to get," Manning said. "But its been that way all season for us. Teams play us different than they play other teams." Whatever it was, it worked for the Chargers, who started gaining some confidence against Denver when they scored the final 14 points in a 28-20 loss to the Broncos last month. Doesnt hurt that theyre coached by Mannings former offensive co-ordinator, McCoy, who won the opening coin toss and boldly deferred, giving the Manning the ball first. Manning marched the Broncos 67 yards in seven plays for a quick score and this had the looks of a typical blowout for a team thats cracked 50 points three times this year. Not so fast. His every move well diagnosed, Manning had two passes knocked down at the line of scrimmage. Chargers defenders wrapped up on Denvers receivers, holding those much-coveted yards after catch to a minimum after so many of Mannings typically short timing routes. Not having to worry about Wes Welker, out with a concussion, they blanketed the other receivers and turned fourth-stringer Bubba Caldwell into Mannings prime target. A good bet. Caldwell led Denver with six catches for 59 yards and two touchdowns, while none of the other Denver receivers did much harm. Denvers previous low in scoring was 27 points against the Chiefs. The defence, meanwhile, was poor once again -- not Super Bowl material on this night. The most telling sequence came in the third quarter when Rivers moved the Chargers from their 1 to midfield over 12 plays. Denver committed two costly penalties -- an offside when San Diego had the punt team out on fourth-and-4, then a 12-men-on-the-field that set up first-and-5 and allowed the Chargers to burn more clock. Though they didnt score, they ate 8:20 off the clock and flipped the field. "We didnt mention one word about time of possession this week," Rivers said. "We said, Weve got to score. Time of possession is only important if youre scoring." They scored more, and now, the Broncos must sweat out the race in the AFC. Their three losses are now equal with New England and Kansas City. Denver owns the tiebreaker against the Chiefs but not against the Patriots. Their next two games are against Houston and Oakland -- combined record 6-20 -- but after a home loss to another losing team, suddenly anything seems possible. Notes: The Broncos had their 10-game winning streak against the AFC West snapped. ... Allen has now scored four touchdowns in the last two games. ... Broncos rookie DT Sylvester Williams recorded his first career sack. Zach Parise Team USA Jersey. Tipsarevic dropped serve just once and saved eight of the nine break points he faced, while breaking Giraldo four times. "I dont think it was an easy game, despite the score," Tipsarevic said. Tim Thomas Olympic Jersey. Numbers Game breaks down the deal for R.A. Dickey. The Blue Jays Get: RHP R.A. Dickey, C Josh Thole and a prospect. Dickey, 38, won the National League Cy Young Award in 2012 after going 20-6 with a 2. Watch the game live on TSN, tonight at 7pm et/4pm pt. The Islanders entered this best-of-seven series as heavy underdogs, but are giving the top-seeded Penguins a run for their money. The Pens hope a switch in net for Game 5 can get their Stanley Cup quest back on track, as the team announced Wednesday that Tomas Vokoun will get the call in goal tonight over the struggling Marc-Andre Fleury. Paul Stastny USA Jersey. LOUIS -- Known for his game-managing and defensive skills, Yadier Molina made another statement with his bat. Joe Pavelski Olympic Jersey. An in-person hearing means there is a possibility any suspension could be five games or more. Early in the first period, Kostka was gaining possession of the puck and coming out from behind his own net when he was hit into the end boards. MUNICH, Germany -- Bayern Munich winger and Ballon dOr candidate Franck Ribery says he will recover from his rib injury in time for next months Club World Cup in Morocco. Earlier, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola told reporters he feared Ribery will be missing "for a long time," without being more specific. But Guardiola also said he hoped to have Ribery back for the Club World Cup that starts Dec. 14 in Morocco. "We have one month until the final in Marrakech. I hope he can play this tournament," Guardiola said. "By then Ill be able to play for sure," Ribery told the online edition of Kicker magazine. "I think Ill be able to play in 10 to 14 days, maybe with pain, but then so be it. Ill just have to play through it." Ribery cracked a rib in Frances 3-0 victory over Ukraine on Tuesday that qualified the French for next yeears World Cup in Brazil.dddddddddddd. Bayern originally indicated that Ribery could be back as soon as next week. Guardiola spoke before Bayerns trip to Dortmund for the Bundesliga game on Saturday. Both teams are missing several top players. Ribery is seeking to crown an outstanding season with the Ballon dOr award as FIFAs player of the year. His season includes a treble with Bayern -- the Champions League, Bundesliga and German Cup titles. He could win a fourth major title in Morocco but that will not have any bearing on the Ballon dOr ballot, which has been extended until Nov. 29. Riberys main rival is expected to be Portugal and Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo. "We all know what a great player he is. Of course he deserves it too, but the ballot is about the entire year and I also have my arguments," Ribery told Kicker. ' ' '