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McNabb, Vikings edged by Chargers 24-17


The San Diego Chargers seemed headed for another one of those slow starts that have defined coach Norv Turner’s tenure.

The Chargers not only let Percy Harvin return the opening kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown, but kicker Nate Kaeding hurt his left knee on the play, forcing punter Mike Scifres to do his first place-kicking since college.

Well, guess again.

With the Vikings sputtering badly, Philip Rivers got the opening he’d been waiting for all afternoon. He threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to fullback Mike Tolbert with 5:01 to play to lift the Chargers to a 24-17 win on Sunday.

“When we face adversity, we don’t curl up and call it quits,” said Scifres, a nine-year veteran who signed a $19 million contract extension Wednesday.

“It’s big,” Rivers said. “We’d love not to have those interceptions, and we’d love to have that kickoff back and just let it be smooth and easy, but it’s these kind of wins that you really grow. You grow more than a week.”

On the winning play, Rivers rolled left and waited for Tolbert to get open inside the 5-yard line, then lobbed the pass.

“The protection was great, so I had time to step up, step up, and then to get out of the pocket, he was hanging with me,” Rivers said. “He was looking at me like, ‘Are you going to run it or throw it?’ I would prefer to throw it.’

Rivers completed 33 of 48 passes for 335 yards and was intercepted twice.

Tolbert also scored on a 7-yard run in the third quarter and had a 1-yard TD catch in the first quarter.

“We were hyped even when were down 17-7,” said Tolbert, who had stars shaved into his hair to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11. “Nobody had their head down and said, ‘Here we go again.’ “

Minnesota led 17-7 at halftime, but gained only 26 yards on 17 plays in the second half. Their new quarterback, Donovan McNabb, struggled against San Diego’s defense and was only 7 of 15 for 39 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

“It’s embarrassing to have the numbers that we had, whatever we had,” McNabb said. “I can do that in one series and we’ll get them corrected.”

Adrian Peterson, who set the NFL single-game record with 296 yards against San Diego as a rookie in 2007, was held to 98 yards on 16 carries one day after signing a contract extension potentially worth $100 million.

“We really had some opportunities and felt we ran the ball pretty well in the first half,” Peterson said. “We didn’t get anything going in the second half. We have to get our passing game going better.”

Chargers linebacker Takeo Spikes said he heard that Peterson said during the week that he was going to rush for 200 yards and the Vikings would win.

“We really felt disrespected,” Spikes said. “

San Diego’s rally included Tolbert bulling in from the 7 early in the third quarter and Scifres kicking his first NFL field goal, a 40-yarder with 10:05 left that tied the game at 17. Scifres also had three PATs.

The game had a crazy first few minutes.

Harvin returned the opening kickoff 103 yards for a touchdown, showing that the Chargers hadn’t fully erased their special teams nightmare of 2010, which cost them a playoff berth. Kaeding hurt his left knee on the play and missed the rest of the game.

On the Vikings’ first play from scrimmage, Chargers outside linebacker Shaun Phillips(notes) deflected McNabb’s pass and intercepted it at the 6-yard line. Three plays later, Rivers found Tolbert wide open for a 1-yard scoring pass to tie it.

Ryan Longwell kicked a 33-yard field goal for the Vikings in the second quarter, and then Peterson finally got going with a 46-yard run. Chargers safety Eric Weddle, who signed a $40 million contract in the summer, had an arm around Peterson’s right foot at about the 40, but the running back broke free and raced to the 3. McNabb then threw a TD pass to Michael Jenkins for a 17-7 lead.

Rivers overthrew a wide-open Vincent Jackson on what would have been a sure touchdown pass late in the second quarter that would have made it 17-14. Rivers stood with his hands on his head after the play.

Notes: Before the game, both teams and the crowd marked the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 by observing a moment of silence, then listening to a live version of “Taps” beamed live from Arlington National Cemetery. A giant American flag, unfurled and held by sailors and Marines, covered the field as Colbie Caillat sang the national anthem. Chargers tight end Antonio Gates wore red-white-and-blue cleats and gloves. Chargers DE Luis Castillo hurt a knee in the second half and didn’t return.

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24 Responses to “McNabb, Vikings edged by Chargers 24-17”

  1. wtfvikesfan says:

    What was up with the play calling(WTF). Just keep running and running and running. WTF. Total disappointment on offensive side of the ball. Mostly the play calling and rest Mcnabb. And why run the ball twice in the BLAZER offence, with WEBB, why not pass on the second one.

    • VSU Blazerlady says:

      The Wilcat only works with good blocking, a speedy running back and a quick count. Didn’t see the game, so I don’t know how it was done, but unless those three things are in play, it can be a disaster. You gotta be able to catch the defense off guard.

      And yes, the option to pass out of the wildcat formation is there!

      A good friend of mine says that 3 things can happen when you pass…..and only one of them is good……

      • VSU Blazerlady says:

        Back to the Wildcat…..

        It’s not a formation that a struggling offense needs to be doing. It is part of VSU’s offensive scheme because we’ve been doing it for years… is a part of our playbook, but we only use maybe once or twice in a game….more often if the offense is really clicking. We’ve only used it once in the last two games because we’ve got a new running back doing the play. Point is…..the formation is not hard, the play itself is not hard….but, it takes timing and lots of practice to pull it off – at any level.

  2. Zag says:

    We should have given Peterson more touches, but not play after play after play like we did. He needs to touch the ball 25 times per game.

    It would have been nice to see McNabb launch a few balls downfield for Harvin/Berrian/Jenkins, but nope… 40 yards.


    It’s also embarrassing that San Diego beat us by throwing checkdown passes all night.

  3. Skol12 says:

    I’m not sure what anybody was expecting… Our offensive line got worse(tbd), our RB situation didn’t change, we lost our #1 wide out, and we downgraded at quarterback(42 y/o Favre is still better than 35 y/o McNabb). Frazier is not a intelligent head coach, hes not going to fool anybody or build a great roster, it may be a well behaved locker room that likes him but not a talented locker room.

    On defense we were without both parts of the Williams Wall and it showed, Tolbert tore us up and we jumped way too many times. Guion was atrocious filling in at DT, and Remi didn’t make many plays. Defensive End was a very bright spot in this terrible performance. Jared Allen looked to be in Pro Bowl form once again, and Brian Robinson showed why he received that contract over the offseason. Our Linebackers played as expected, Greenway was solid as usual, and neither of the Henderson brothers were mentioned very often, which is a good thing while in coverage.

    Most surprising to me was our secondary. It was as average as average can be. I expected us to be burned for 400+ yards. Our outstanding pass rush may have prevented this and covered up our secondary but they still did their job. Ced looked like himself in his first full game back since his first torn ACL, and Winfield played like Winfield, an interception, multiple tackles no blown coverages. Chris Cook had another rough outing, I would like to see Schrels get a shot at Nickelback(he may not be ready but he wont be penalized every other play). Our safeties played fair other than a horse-collar tackle on a kickoff and getting run over by Tolbert all game.

    This performance overall by our Minnesota Vikings was better than I expected. Offense was atrocious, Defense was solid, Percy Harvin had a big play, but the secondary’s performance was what made it above average in my book.

    • TexVike55 says:

      Only 26 yards of offense in the SECOND HALF!

      26 yards… on SEVENTEEN PLAYS!!! After a good first half, the offense got retarded.

      Rivers got more than that on single pass play.

      Our heralded QB savior McNabb was McLousy. 7 of 15 for a whopping 39 yards. And one of those was an interception leading to the Chargers first touchdown.

      Folks, can you say… RE-BUILD-ING YEAR?

      ‘Course you can. Because that’s what this is.

      That’s why these so-called professional coaches and players are paid the outrageous sums they receive.

      *Sigh* It makes you want to weep. And we’ll be doing a lot of that this year.

      But, *shrug*, that’s why I’m a Viking fan. I’m a masochist.

      And baby, I’ll be suffering plenty this year…

  4. Ole says:

    tough loss for sure Tex Vike, let’s try to focus on the positive

    Cheech ran back a kick off for a touch down


    (crickets chirping)


    this loss was to be expected when you cut the heart, soul, liver, appendix, cerebral cortex, spine and tonsils of the team, Jeff Meta Universal Peace Dugan

    biggest surprise of the day, Big Johnny knows how to read

  5. Tomb... says:

    I actually thought the OL was “better” than last year.

    That’s f’ed.

  6. Lost Viking says:

    Have to ask whether conditioning was a factor in the game. Viking D was on the field for 21 of final 30 minutes.

    Did it appear conditioning (or heat or endurance) became a factor?

  7. Ryan says:

    Ponder could’ve threw for more than 39 yds. If mcnabb throws for 100 we win

  8. Gary says:

    Exactly what I expected……..McNabb is NOT the answer. We have the best QB in the history of Florida State standing on the sidelines watching. Here we go again……..after its too late, they will put Ponder in, and start talking about next year…….

  9. Zag says:

    On the topic of our poor offensive line, did anyone see McKinnie starting for Baltimore yesterday? The guy was a beast. A force to be reckoned with in both the run and pass game.

    I guess he needed a kick in the tail (getting cut) before he decided to perform. Too bad it was for another team.

    No lie, I would cut off a finger to exchange o-lines with the Ravens.

  10. B. Grant says:

    While yesterday was frustrating, the results of the first game of the year are not to provide basis for what to expect of an entire season or the basis for evaluating coaching or player personnel. If it were, then Atlanta and Pittsburgh should fire their staff and Buffalo should sign their’s to five-year extensions.

    My perspective is that the Vikings actually did a number of things pretty well, but lost a game on two plays. The early interception on our own five-yard line and the underthrow & drop between McNabb and Berrian in the 4th quarter. I’m not big on “ifs” but those are the kinds of plays that turn games around. When the interception and resulting TD happened in the first quarter, I said to my boys that could well prove to be the margin of our defeat.

    I don’t believe this is yet the time to go off or give up on Frazier, Musgrave or McNabb. How these guys REACT to this is what will be important. No one feels worse about yesterday’s outcome than they do, and I have confidence in them learning from it. Leslie may be a nice guy, but some guys will be called out on some of their dumbness yesterday. I also believe that familiarity with one another will result in rapid improvement. To be honest, I was pleased that we had a chance to win that game, as it was a tough opener for us.

    • Pinwheel26 says:

      Yeah, and I thought it was a big mistake when they put in Toby. They should have tried to get Peterson loose, and Harvin, they were both ready to go. They lost the momentum there when they could’ve really exploded. It’s only a matter of time with San Diego, down there, they needed to win, and like Allen said, they gave it to them. It’s on the OC, I think.

  11. Nume says:

    Speaking of McKinnie, this is what Judge at cbs had to say about him,
    “14. The addition of free-agent left tackle Bryant McKinnie was supposed to be a sign of how desperate Baltimore’s offensive line is, but tell that to James Harrison. He couldn’t figure the guy out and was a non-factor most of the afternoon. “We knew when we got Bryant McKinnie that we had someone special,” offensive coordinator Cam Cameron said. They might be right. Joe Flacco was sacked only once, but don’t blame McKinnie. Flacco just held the ball too long. “I was really untouched,” he said.”
    I still do have some hope for the year though. McNabb looked really good in the first half imo, even though he didn’t have a lot of yards. He was making smart plays with the ball, and converting on first down. The 2nd half he still didn’t look that bad, but receivers dropped a lot of balls, and seemed to be having trouble getting open (or maybe mcnabb just couldn’t find the open guy). Probably the most discouraging thing to me was that I never really had a sense the vikings were beating the chargers at their best, but that the chargers just started slowly and played horrible until near the end of the first half.

  12. CalVkg says:

    oh, jeez, if we were in the nfc south, we’d be tied for first place, and next week we get the first place sucs. at home, we should win that one, and break 100 yards passing

  13. bisatc says:

    I 100% agree with coach.
    I think we saw alot of positive things in this game. I guess it was the tale of two halves. We pushed then around in the 1st half, but didn’t come out to play in the 2nd, apparently. One game a season does not make gentlemen. I believe we will see much better games out of Mcnabb in the future, the running game looked promising, and our defense played pretty damn well. I think people are forgetting that San Diego is a damn good football team, offensively and defensively.

  14. bisatc says:

    oh, and I love the guy, but can Berrian drop any more balls? My god is that getting old.

  15. fozz44 says:

    If Berrian catches that ball….Vikes are in the drivers seat.

    Tom Brady may not have thrown for 39 yards with the pass rush making it to his 5 drop step before him. Someone mentioned the underneath passes. Death by a thousand cuts…..and seamingly no adjustments, outside of the ridiculous interception by Jared Allen.

    They had a lot of fast action plays that I liked, outside of the Wildcat….but it seemed like the Chargers knew what plays were coming.

  16. Pinwheel26 says:

    Yeah, it could’ve been worse. They could’ve gotten blown out. I thought they were going to win. It was a real buzzkill, for sure. I hope they don’t make a habit of that. Half the teams lost. Road game. They didn’t capitolize on momentum. That’s Musgrave. And Guion or whatever his stupid name is got clowned. There were some great moments, Allen, Robison, Harvin, Peterson. They came to play. It’s on Musgrave. The Chargers are good, too. Real good, and they HAD to win the opener, at home. The best you can say about Cook and Griffin is, at least they didn’t re-injure themselves, otherwise, I don’t know. Could be one of those seasons. Long disappointing Sundays of brutal pass interference penalties and DB’s chasing people into the endzone.

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