SAN DIEGO — Eddie Royal became the first player in Broncos history to return a kickoff and a punt for touchdowns in the same game, leading undefeated Denver to a wild 34-23 win over the San Diego Chargers on Monday night.
The Broncos didn’t get an offensive touchdown until Kyle Orton threw a 19-yard pass to tight end Tony Scheffler late in the third quarter for a 24-23 lead. Denver added a field goal by Matt Prater and a late 5-yard touchdown catch by Brandon Stokley that was upheld on review.
This is the fifth time the Broncos have been 6-0, the first since going 13-0 in 1998 en route to winning their second straight Super Bowl. They opened a 31/2-game lead in the AFC West over three-time defending division champion San Diego (2-3).
Royal is the 11th player in NFL history to return a kickoff and a punt for a touchdown in a game. He had a 93-yard kickoff return and a 71-yard punt return.
Royal’s electrifying returns at first silenced Qualcomm Stadium, then had Chargers fans booing.
After the Chargers were forced to settle for a field goal following a sensational drive late in the first quarter, Royal took the kickoff, found a big hole at about the 35, cut inside of kicker Nate Kaeding and raced down the left sideline to give the Broncos a 7-3 lead.
In the second quarter, Royal fielded Mike Scifres’ punt on the bounce at the 29, worked his way inside, then outraced the coverage to the outside to give Denver a 17-10 lead.
Speedy Darren Sproles of the Chargers got in on the action when he returned a punt 77 yards for a touchdown for a 20-17 lead.
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