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Not Picture-Perfect, but Still Undefeated

Pro football: Broncos and Elway overcome four turnovers to beat Chargers, 31-16, and improve to 12-0.

November 30, 1998|From Associated Press

SAN DIEGO — John Elway and the Denver Broncos aren't getting style points, just victories.

Elway had four first-half turnovers but finished with a season-high four touchdown passes as the Broncos, returning to the scene of their Super Bowl victory, pushed aside the San Diego Chargers, 31-16, Sunday night to remain unbeaten after 12 games.

The Broncos become the fourth team in NFL history to start 12-0 or better. Only the 1972 Miami Dolphins went undefeated the whole way, finishing 17-0 after winning the Super Bowl.

The Broncos began the game as AFC West champions, having earned the title when the Oakland Raiders lost to the Washington Redskins earlier in the day. San Diego (5-7) lost to the Broncos for the second time in three weeks.

Elway threw two touchdown passes to Ed McCaffrey and one each to Rod Smith and Shannon Sharpe. This is the third consecutive season Elway has thrown four touchdown passes in a game against San Diego.

NFL rushing leader Terrell Davis, the hometown hero who was most valuable player of Denver's Super Bowl win over Green Bay Jan. 25, rushed 24 times for 74 yards and has 1,566 yards this season. The Chargers still haven't allowed a 100-yard rusher, holding Davis under that mark twice.

Elway, who missed three full games and bulk of two others with injuries, had thrown only three interceptions coming in. He threw that many in the first half alone, and his fumble led to a John Carney field goal.

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