On Denver's opening possession, Manning guided the Broncos on a 14-play touchdown drive -- the second-longest drive in terms of plays by the Broncos this season. Manning shook off a near interception by cornerback Shareece Wright before finishing the prolonged march with a short scoring pass to Demaryius Thomas.

Manning, whose hard-count got Chargers defenders to jump offsides five times, drew two of the neutral zone infractions during Denver's second touchdown drive, which covered 57 yards. Welker, playing with a special, slightly oversized helmet after missing the final three games of the regular season due to his second concussion of the year, was open in front of safety Weddle and Manning hit him from 3 yards out.

San Diego forced a turnover when safety Jahleel Addae stripped Thomas of the ball after a second-quarter catch but the Chargers, held to just 45 yards in the first two quarters, couldn't capitalize.

After defensive lineman Malik Jackson's third-down sack of Rivers, kicker Nick Novak was short on a 53-yard field goal try.

NOTES: The Chargers and Broncos, AFC West divisional rivals, met for the first time in the postseason after playing each other 108 times previously. ... San Diego LB Manti Te'o did not play in the second half after suffering a concussion making a tackle just before halftime. ... Denver QB Peyton Manning has had multiple touchdown passes in eight of his playoff games. ... Denver was without DL Derek Wolfe, who remains sidelined by illness. ... San Diego RG Jeromey Clary was among the team's inactive players after missing practice all week due to a shoulder injury. ... Denver RB Knowshon Moreno scored his first postseason rushing touchdown.