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DENVER — Tim Tebow nearly pulled off his second straight fourth-quarter comeback, pulling Denver within five points with 26 seconds left. The Broncos recovered the onside kick and Tebow, the 2007 Heisman Trophy winner at Florida, had two throws to win it that were batted down at the goal line as San Diego hung on.
Ryan Mathews, San Diego's rookie running back, gained 120 yards on 26 carries and scored on runs of 27, 12 and 31 yards.
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said he told Mathews before the game: "Hey, this is the first game for next year. … Let's do something we can build on."