Chargers handle Broncos, but Melvin Gordon leaves late – (News)

Chargers handle Broncos, but Melvin Gordon leaves late –

It wasn’t exactly smooth, and results elsewhere kept it from mattering as much as they’d have hoped.

But the Chargers are headed to the postseason, and that’s still pretty good.

Their 23-9 win over the Broncos wasn’t easy and may have created some new issues, but they improved to 12-4 and locked down the fifth seed in the AFC playoffs.

That means a trip to see the AFC North champion Ravens next week, and marks their first playoff appearance in five years.

They had to grind this game out against the Broncos, but pushed the margin out in the second half. That included a pick-two, as cornerback Casey Hayward intercepted a Broncos conversion attempt and returned it 102 yards for another couple of points.

Philip Rivers was a pedestrian 14-of-24 for 176 yards, with a touchdown and two first-quarter interceptions.

But their biggest worry is the condition of running back Melvin Gordon, who limped off the field in the fourth quarter and was getting his left ankle checked on the sidelines after he was dragged down from behind. Austin Ekeler finished the game and scored a touchdown, but Gordon’s availability for the postseason is obviously a concern.

For the Broncos (6-10), the only things left are the announcements about the future of coach Vance Joseph and the offseason.