The Chargers may not be the first or last team to be frustrated with their defense after facing Adrian Peterson, but linebacker Shawne Merriman wasn't mincing words in describing San Diego's defensive effort.
The Chargers wore a red face on Monday in the aftermath of their meltdown in Minnesota.
"We got our ass kicked, point blank," Pro Bowl linebacker Shawne Merriman
said. "Those guys played hard, the running back ran and dove and scratched for every inch he could get and they wanted it more and they got it. And we can't have that."
What Peterson had was an NFL-record 296 rushing yards. What the Chargers now own is allowing the most rushing yards (378) by a rival since – well, never.
No offense has embarrassed the Chargers like the Vikings did.
"When I watched the film I was sick after what I (saw)," Merriman said. "If a guy goes out and wins the game kicking a field goal and we played a hard game, I can appreciate that. I can accept losing.
"But I can't accept the way we lost, going out and getting our ass kicked. That I can't do."
Now what do the Chargers do? Do they continue their shoddy play, which has them in first place despite a 4-4 mark?
Or do they rally on Sunday when facing the Super Bowl champion Indianapolis Colts
This Sunday will be telling. The Chargers have long crowed about being an elite team. But that talk seems hollow now.
"We're not an elite team at all," LaDainian Tomlinson
said. "We're a team that's in the middle of the pack and we're struggling trying to win games."
The Chargers' 14-2 mark of last year seems like a long time ago. But even with that playoff pratfall at home last season to New England, many thought the Chargers would build on that regular-season success.
"Those were the expectations, definitely," Tomlinson said. "I'm speaking where we are now. We're not an elite team, we're not."
Overshadowed to some degree by Adrian Peterson and the losing effort was Antonio Cromartie's 109-yard return of a failed field goal for a touchdown right before the half. "It's a thrill, but it's bittersweet for me," Cromartie said. "When I caught the ball, I looked and saw everybody going to the sideline. I just took off." Cromartie has scored three touchdowns in two games in three different ways — the other two were on an interception return and a fumble recovery in the end zone.
TE Antonio Gates had but one catch for 10 yards on Sunday. That is hard to believe. "Any time you end the game and he has one catch, you obviously look back and wish you would've gotten it to him more," QB Philip Rivers said.
Mike Scifres averaged 54.9 yards on eight punts and placed five inside the Vikings 20-yard line. Fourteen of Scifres' last 17 punts have been inside the opponents 20.
The Chargers entered the game with the No. 7 ranking against the run. But after getting abused in Minnesota, they are now ranked No. 22.
DE Luis Castillo (ankle) will miss the next six weeks after undergoing ankle surgery after getting hurt on Sunday.
OLB Shaun Phillips expects to practice on Wednesday and go this week after missing the Minnesota game.
CB Quentin Jammer aggravated his hamstring injury and he could be down this week. He will try to practice late this week.
WR Craig Davis (ankle) will likely play this week if he doesn't have a setback during the practice week.
DE Jacques Cesaire figures to get more playing time with Castillo heading to the sidelines.
WR Kassim Osgood caught two passes for 23 yards on Sunday. Osgood usually makes his mark on special teams and hadn't caught a pass since Nov. 20, 2005.
RB LaDainian Tomlinson passed Jim Brown for fourth place on the all-time rushing touchdown list with a score on Sunday. He now has 105 rushing touchdowns.
C Cory Withrow will go at least one more week as it appears Pro Bowl C Nick Hardwick won't be ready for the Colts game.
Rookie WR Legedu Naanee made his first NFL receptions, catching two passes for 39 yards.