SAN DIEGO — The Denver Broncos won their fourth straight AFC West title Sunday, even as Peyton Manning struggled with illness and injury.
The Broncos quarterback said he was feeling sick before Sunday’s game against the Chargers and left the field late in the first half. The Broncos said Manning had a thigh injury, but he also was receiving IV fluids.
Despite all this, Manning and the Broncos won, 22-10. Manning exceeded 4,000 passing yards for the 14th time in his career, more than any other quarterback in NFL history.
While Manning was out, Brock Osweiler took over but wasn’t very impressive. He threw two incomplete passes and was penalized for intentional grounding.
Manning returned in the second half to throw a 28-yard touchdown, pass giving the Broncos a 16-3 lead.
The Broncos improved to 11-3, tied with the New England Patriots for the best record in the AFC.
But the Patriots own the tiebreaker for the No. 1 seed. If the Broncos win next Monday at Cincinnati and at home against Oakland, they will receive a first-round bye for the third year in a row, but they need to finish with a better record than the Patriots to have home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. The Patriots finish with games at the New York Jets and at home against the Buffalo Bills.
As AFC West champs, they will play their first playoff game at home.