And Then Depression Set In

There is no way to justify Sunday's loss to San Diego. For the first time this year, the Vikings were not only beaten, but they were blown out -- by a team with a 1-7 record and a 41-year-old QB who was part of nine straight losses the last time he was a starter.

Perhaps the ugliest thing about Sunday's 42-28 loss to the Chargers wasn't that it once again put another hurdle in front of the Vikings winning the NFC North, it was how it happened.

When the Vikings played the Giants and Packers, both teams were on the ropes and needed a win to keep any hopes of a return to the playoffs alive. The Chargers knew they're going nowhere and did it with a 41-year-old quarterback who hadn't started a game in 23 months. This was a blowout the Vikings haven't seen since falling behind 24-0 to the Bucs Nov. 8, 2002. This was just wrong.

In the last two losses, the Vikings could legitimately point a finger at one or two plays that were the difference between winning and losing. The difference Sunday was a dozen or more plays that scorched the Vikings.

All three of the consecutive losses the Vikes have gone through have been painful. This one, however, leaves more of a sting because the team never had a chance. They were outmanned, outcoached and outplayed. Period.

* Randy Moss sustained a concussion at the end of the third quarter when he was hit by three Chargers on a short pass over the middle. VU was told the TV announce crew was dogging Moss late in the game – apparently unaware he was having momentary problems with double-vision and blurred vision during the fourth quarter.
* Special teams ace Jack Brewer will be evaluated today for what VU is being told is a separated shoulder. If the injury is as serious as some fear, he may once again be sidelined – making a sub-par specials teams worse.
* CB Denard Walker was back in his role as a starter in the second half Sunday, but not because he earned the spot. Ken Irvin suffered a concussion in the first half. He played in the second half in the nickel back role.
* VU pointed out after the win vs. the Broncos that the perimeter of the Vikings defense was exposed by Clinton Portis. It now is a blueprint for success. The Chargers ran outside the tackles to the left 11 times for 169 yards. Their other 15 carries gained 42 yards.
* Daunte Culpepper made his 50th career start Sunday.
* Moss caught his 70th career touchdown. In his five-plus year career, Moss had never missed a game.
* In the first half, Moss passed former Viking great Anthony Carter into second place on the team's all-time reception yardage list.
* Moss finished the game with 120 yards, leaving him with 998 on the season.
* The Chargers had 111 yards rushing in the first quarter Sunday. They also had 83 passing yards – a total of 194 first-quarter yards. In their Week Nine loss to the Bears, they managed just 199 yards in the entire game.
* The Chargers scored touchdowns on all of their first-half drives and on six of their first eight possessions.
* Sunday was the first game all season in which the Vikings defense didn't have at least one turnover/takeaway.
* You can't blame the Vikings offense for this loss, despite a couple of key turnovers. At one point in the first half, Culpepper had completed 10 straight passes – and was still behind by 14 points.
* In the first half, Culpepper completed 14 of 17 passes for 160 yards and two touchdowns – and was behind by 14 points.
* In the last three games, the Vikings defense has allowed 450 or more yards in each game.
* Sunday was the first outdoor game the Vikings have played since beating the Packers on opening day.
* The Chargers' 42 points were their most since 1993.
* Clock Management Question No. 23: Trailing by 14 points with the ball and just 3:21 to play, the Vikings call a time out following a second-down sack. At the time, they still have two time outs and the two-minute warning if the defense could stop the Chargers. You're in four-down territory facing a third-and-8. Why call a time out? We point out. We don't see changes.
* Flutie finished the game completing 21 of 29 passes for 248 yards with two TD passes and two TD runs.

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