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Broncos ride defense to easy win over Chargers

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The Denver Broncos (10-2) again got difference-making plays from their league-best defense, and Brock Osweiler moved to 3-0 as a starter in 17-3 win over the San Diego Chargers (3-9) on Sunday. Here's what you need to know:

1. This was another dominant effort from Denver's vaunted D, which had some hiccups in recent weeks. The Broncos allowed just four completions to Chargers wide receivers, collected four sacks, forced three turnovers and got a game-changing pick six from Danny Trevathan. When the defense plays to its potential, it takes a lot of pressure off of a first-year starter at quarterback. This is a necessity if the Broncos have Super Bowl aspirations.

As for the Osweiler-Peyton Manning drama, right now it's simple: As long as the Broncos keep winning, Osweiler is going to keep playing.

2. Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas had one of the uglier stat lines in recent memory last week, when he managed just one reception on 13 targets against the Patriots. Osweiler and Thomas showed better chemistry on Sunday -- Thomas picking up six catches for 61 yards on six targets and the game's lone offensive touchdown. This was, by far, the biggest positive development on a quiet day for Denver's offense.

3. The Chargers are a long way off. They're now 3-9 and have been held to three points in losses to AFC West rivals two out of the past three weeks. Then there's the increasingly depressing environment at Qualcomm Stadium, where thousands of Broncos fans cheered the road team. It's possible Chargers have only one game left in San Diego.

4. The Broncos took care of business against an inferior opponent, then watched the Patriots fail to do the same thing at home against the Eagles. Denver and New England are now both 10-2, with the Broncos holding the all-important head-to-head tiebreaker by virtue of last Sunday night's overtime win.

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