If a football field were a classroom, Peyton Manning would be the kid in the front row with his hand up, ready to not only state the correct answer, but prove the teacher wrong in the process.

With class playing out at Qualcomm Stadium here Sunday on a spectacular November afternoon, Manning's old instructor, Mike McCoy, came up with the tired old keep-away game plan only to look foolish in the end. Despite ridiculously limited playing time, Manning was absurdly efficient in leading the Broncos and interim head coach Jack Del Rio past McCoy's San Diego Chargers, 28-20, before a sold-out crowd that was at least 30 percent dressed in Denver orange.

Football coaches think they're so smart. Do they really believe they can come up with a strategy to defeat Manning?

McCoy worked directly with Manning as the Broncos' offensive coordinator last season. Now that he's the Chargers' head coach, McCoy should have known better. He believed the best way to stop Manning was to keep him on the sideline.

Sounds logical. Except the plan hasn't worked yet. In the first half, McCoy's Chargers held the ball for more than 22 minutes while Manning's offense had the ball for less than 8 minutes.

Yet, the first half scoreboard displayed the contradictory numbers of Broncos 21, Chargers 6. So much for the theory that you can't score if you don't have the ball. Officially, the Broncos had the ball only seven minutes and 31 seconds in the first half, but it was enough for Manning to pass for 243 yards and three touchdown passes to a guy named Thomas: Tight end Julius Thomas caught one, then ran for a 74-yard score, and wide receiver Demaryius Thomas caught two.

The Broncos had three rushing attempts in the first half, all by Knowshon Moreno, for 9 yards. Let other teams try to establish the run. To the Broncos, running the ball just gets in their way.

Manning would connect with Demaryius Thomas for another touchdown to start the second half and the Broncos were up 28-6, then held on. San Diego got to midfield late in the fourth quarter, but was forced to punt and the Broncos ran out the clock.