SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Despite a penalty-plagued 31-7 drubbing at the hands of the San Diego Chargers, Minnesota Vikings coach Dennis Green was encouraged by the play of his starting units.
"Our first unit on offense and defense played very, very good," Green said. "Our second and third teams did not play very well at all. We had too many penalties, and that affected our field position, which was very bad."
While the Vikings outplayed the Chargers' first team -- only to find themselves trailing at halftime -- Minnesota's backups could muster no momentum.
In the first half, the Vikings outgained the Chargers 184-35, gained 12 first downs to the Chargers' three and held the ball for 20 minutes, 43 seconds. But 10 penalties, horrendous field position, two interceptions and a special-teams gaffe left the Vikings' first team trailing 14-7.
All the Chargers needed was a three-minute sequence in the second quarter to take the lead for good. Rookie Ronney Jenkins returned an Eddie Howard kickoff 86 yards for a touchdown, and the Chargers intercepted quarterback Daunte Culpepper at the Vikings 16 to set up a 1-yard touchdown run from Robert Chancey.
"I thought our first offense was pretty good, but it wasn't enough because we weren't winning," said Culpepper, who completed 12 of 23 passes for 129 yards. "I thought we did a lot of good things, but we have got to keep our mistakes to a minimum. Those penalties slowed us down."
Culpepper completed a 24-yard touchdown to receiver Randy Moss, who had six catches for 89 yards, to cap a 90-yard drive. Culpepper also ran twice for 27 yards while playing the entire first half. He threw two interceptions.
Culpepper led the team on its only impressive sequence.
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.