Sunday, September 11, 2011
Rapid Reaction: Chargers 24, Vikings 17
By Bill Williamson
SAN DIEGO -- A look at San Diego's impressive 16-14 comeback victory.
What it means: The Chargers proved they are resilient. Everything crashed in on them as the Vikings took a 17-7 lead at the half. San Diego's special teams -- one of the worst the NFL had ever seen in 2010 -- gave up a 103-yard kickoff return for a score on the opening play. Kicker Nate Kaeding was lost for the game on the play. At the half, the Chargers had to wonder whether they were in for another slow start under Norv Turner. However, San Diego took over on both sides of the ball in the second half. The offense finished drives, and the defense finished Adrian Peterson, who sliced it up in the first half. It wasn’t pretty, but the Chargers showed the resolve of a champion in Week 1.
Tomorrow’s talker: Philip Rivers was shaky and seemed off in the first half. In the second half, he took over. His winning touchdown pass to running back Mike Tolbert was brilliant. He showed great patience and proved what a star he is.
Rookie no more: Running back Ryan Mathews had a terrific game. He ran with authority and confidence. After a so-so rookie season, Mathews looks like a matured player. He can help make this offense special.
Nice save: Game ball to punter Mike Scifres. He took over place-kicking duties when Kaeding went down. Scifres was perfect, including nailing a tying field goal in the fourth quarter from 40 yards. It was his first NFL field goal. Earlier in the game, the Chargers went for it on fourth-and-20 because they didn’t trust Scifres. He signed a contract extension last week. He just earned it.
What's next: San Diego has a huge test next week when it travels to New England. It could be an early playoff preview.