Rivers throws four TD passes in 35-14 Chargers triumph

SAN DIEGO — Strip away all those special teams blunders and turnovers, and this is how the San Diego are really supposed to look.

Philip Rivers tied his career high with four touchdown passes to four different receivers and the Chargers beat the Denver Broncos 35-14 on Monday night for their third straight victory.

"This was the most complete game we've played in all three phases," Rivers said. "We are in a lot of ways in playoff football already. You almost can't afford a step back at this point.

"We haven't peaked," added Rivers, who leads the NFL with 3,177 yards passing and has a chance to break Dan Marino's single-season record of 5,084 set in 1984. "I don't think we're playing at 100 percent, but we're playing pretty good."

While Rivers did it on a season-low 233 yards, San Diego's defense, led by linebacker Shaun Phillips, settled in and harassed Denver's Kyle Orton after he led an easy opening scoring drive. Denver was held to 235 yards and converted only one of 12 third downs.

Patrick Crayton scored on a 40-yard catch-and-run late in the second quarter, hurting his left wrist as he fell into the end zone, and speedy little Darren Sproles had a 57-yard catch-and-run early in the third.

"We're coming together as a team," coach Norv Turner said. "We can continue to get better but I think we're playing our best football."

The four-time defending AFC West champion Chargers (5-5) even pulled off a fake punt, a remarkable accomplishment considering all the special teams gaffes that contributed to a 2-5 start, the worst in Turner's four seasons as San Diego's coach. Mike Scifres — who's had five punts blocked this year — waited for fullback Mike Tolbert to get open, then hit him with a 29-yard pass that set up Rivers' tying 6-yard scoring pass to Malcom Floyd in the first quarter.

The Chargers, coming off their bye, pulled into a second-place tie with Oakland, one game behind Kansas City. Denver fell to 3-7.

Rivers completed 15 of 24 passes, including three to Crayton for 105 yards. Tolbert gained 111 yards on 24 carries.

TITANS — Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher said Vince Young needs season-ending surgery on his throwing hand.

The team is placing Young on injured reserve within the next few days, but after his latest meltdown — throwing his pads into the stands — Fisher said Young wouldn't have started Sunday against Houston anyway.

Rusty Smith, No. 2 on the depth chart on Sunday, replaced Young in the game and Fisher said the rookie will start against Houston.

RAIDERS — A blowout loss to Pittsburgh to end a three-game winning streak was bad enough for the Oakland Raiders.

At least they know they won't be without stalwart defensive tackle Richard Seymour this week following his ejection for hitting Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger in the helmet.

The NFL announced Monday that Seymour would be fined $25,000 for his actions in the second quarter of Oakland's 35-3 loss at Pittsburgh. But there was no suspension.

Coach Tom Cable said before the punishment was announced that Seymour knows he made a poor decision and that his team needs to do a better job maintaining its discipline.

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