Chargers lead Broncos 17-10 at halftime

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San Diego Chargers strong safety Marcus Gilchrist (38) celebrates after sacking Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) in the second quarter of an NFL football game, Thursday, Dec. 12, 2013, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

DENVER (AP) — Philip Rivers threw two TD passes to Keenan Allen and the San Diego Chargers led the Denver Broncos 17-10 at halftime Thursday night.

Rivers hooked up with Allen on a 19-yard pass to tie it early in the second quarter and they teamed on a 10-yard fade route just before halftime.

Allen is having quite a season, with 63 catches for 931 yards. He was 70 yards away from tying the club record for receiving yards by a rookie set by John Jefferson in 1978.

Rivers had 90 yards at halftime and needed 18 more for his fifth 4,000-yard season.

Peyton Manning threw his 46th TD pass of the season in the first quarter, leaving him four shy of tying the single-season record set by New England's Tom Brady in 2007.

San Diego won the coin toss and elected to defer to the second half. And yet giving Manning the ball first didn't work out very well as he efficiently led the team on a seven-play drive that culminated with Andre Caldwell's 15-yard TD catch in the corner of the end zone. Manning was 4 of 5 for 56 yards on the drive.

Caldwell was stepping in for Wes Welker, who sat out after sustaining a concussion Sunday, his second in a month's span.

Manning & Co. had much milder conditions to deal with after beating Tennessee 51-28 last weekend in the snow and ice. The temperature hovered around 35 degrees and there was barely any wind.

Still, Manning wore gloves on both hands.

So did Philip Rivers, who guided the Chargers down the field on their first drive, only to have it stall out at the Broncos 20. Nick Novak connected on a 38-yard field goal.

The Broncos were without two defensive starters in cornerback Champ Bailey (left foot) and defensive lineman Derek Wolfe (illness).

This game featured two of the NFL's most prolific offenses, along with two of the most deficient defenses.

But the Chargers settled down on defense after allowing scoring drives on Denver's opening two possessions.