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NFL Notes: Rivers leads Chargers to 21-13 victory against Broncos

Chargers QB Philip Rivers broke the franchise record for career passing yards. (Denis Poroy / Associated Press)
Chargers QB Philip Rivers broke the franchise record for career passing yards. (Denis Poroy / Associated Press)
Associated Press

Philip Rivers threw for 178 yards and one touchdown, passing Hall of Famer Dan Fouts to become San Diego’s career passing leader, and the Chargers held off the visiting Denver Broncos 21-13 on Thursday night.

The victory may have saved embattled coach Mike McCoy’s job . The Chargers (2-4) were coming off a mistake-filled loss at Oakland, and earlier in the season lost three games in which they led at the 2-minute warning. There has been increasing fan discontent with the conservative McCoy, and the Chargers are trying to convince voters to approve a $1.1 billion public handout for a new downtown stadium in the form of an increase in the hotel occupancy tax.

The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos were coached by special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis after Gary Kubiak was ordered by doctors to sit this one out because of a migraine condition that mimics strokes.

The five-time defending AFC West champion Broncos (4-2) were mostly sluggish behind Trevor Siemian, who was back at quarterback after rookie Paxton Lynch struggled in a loss to Atlanta. They lost their second straight game and had their NFL-record 15 straight divisional road victories snapped.

The Chargers snapped their streak of 10 straight divisional losses dating to 2014.

Rivers, in his 13th season with the Chargers and 11th as starter, has 43,094 career yards passing. Fouts threw for 43,040 yards in 15 seasons with the Bolts.

Rivers threw a 5-yard scoring pass to rookie tight end Hunter Henry to cap the game’s first possession. Rivers finished 18 of 29.

Otherwise, the Chargers had to settle for Lambo’s career-high four field goals, of 37, 21, 31 and 32 yards.

Trump criticizes ‘softer NFL rules’ on concussions

Donald Trump criticized “softer NFL rules” regarding concussions during a campaign stop in Lakeland, Florida.

The Republican presidential nominee was struck by the toughness of a woman who fainted Wednesday and then returned to the audience, according to multiple media reports.

“The woman was out cold and now she’s coming back,” Trump told the crowd. “See? We don’t go by these new and very much softer NFL rules. Concussion, oh! Oh! Got a little ding on the head, no, no, you can’t play for the rest of the season. Our people are tough!”

The NFL has cracked down on hits to the head amid a lawsuit over head injuries that resulted in a $1 billion settlement with former players in April 2015. Some former players have asked the Supreme Court to block the settlement because of how it treats current brain injuries versus future ones.

Newton a full participant in practice for Panthers

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was a full participant in practice Thursday, another indicator the league’s reigning MVP will likely play Sunday against the New Orleans Saints.

Coach Ron Rivera said that while Newton remains in the NFL’s concussion protocol, it’s a positive sign that he was able to practice fully. Rivera said he doesn’t know when he might be cleared to play.

“This is just the next step and it’s all about how he reacts to everything,” Rivera said.

Newton declined interview requests on Thursday.

Quick kicks

Redskins coach Jay Gruden said TE Jordan Reed was diagnosed with a concussion Gruden said Reed must be cleared from the NFL’s concussion protocol before returning to practice or play in Sunday’s game against the Eagles. … Browns rookie QB Cody Kessler recovered enough from a rib and chest injury to start Sunday at Tennessee. Kessler got hurt in the first quarter of last week’s loss to New England and did not return. … Dolphins rookie guard Laremy Tunsil said he expects to play Sunday after missing last week’s game when he sprained his ankle coming out of the shower.

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