Mark Craig: Perfect day for an explosion

  • Article by: MARK CRAIG , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 5, 2007 - 6:49 AM

As impressive as Adrian Peterson's record-setting day was, he had a perfect storm of circumstances going for him.

San Diego Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson set 13 NFL records last season. He won the rushing title and was league MVP. And on Sunday, he moved past Hall of Famer Jim Brown into fourth place for career rushing touchdowns with 107.

In other words, the dude isn't easily impressed.

But on Sunday, he was darn near in awe, as Vikings rookie running back Adrian Peterson romped to an NFL-record 296 yards and three touchdowns on 30 carries (9.9-yard average) in a 35-17 victory at the Metrodome.

"Impressive, very impressive," said Tomlinson, whose career-high rushing mark is 243 yards. "I was just sitting over there on the sideline, and to just to have over 200 yards in the second half, you know, that's impressive. But I've never seen anything like it."

Wow.

Peterson definitely was impressive. But the Chargers also experienced a perfect storm of setbacks that helped Peterson during his historic afternoon.

Let us count the ways:

1) Injuries.

The Chargers were without three key defensive starters by the time Peterson rounded right end for his 64-yard touchdown with 12 minutes, 55 seconds left in the third quarter.

Outside linebacker Shaun Phillips, the team's fifth-leading tackler, was inactive because of a groin injury. Cornerback Quentin Jammer left in the first half because of a hamstring injury. And four plays before that touchdown, defensive end Luis Castillo left because of what appears to be serious knee and ankle injuries.

"Adrian is outstanding, but we thought we could handle him, and we did in the first half," said Chargers defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell, who held the same position with the Vikings in 2004-05. "What happened in the second half is Castillo got hurt. That really hurt us."

Before Castillo went down, Peterson had 49 yards and one touchdown on 14 carries. With Castillo out, Peterson had 247 yards and two touchdowns on 16 carries. And the 64-yarder went right over the spot where Castillo would have lined up.

2) A stubborn offensive game plan.

Through three quarters, the Chargers ran the ball on 11 of 18 first downs. Those 11 runs netted 15 yards. Six times, Tomlinson was tackled behind the line of scrimmage.

The Chargers' pig-headed game plan also ignored All-Pro tight end Antonio Gates. He didn't have a ball thrown to him until the 12-minute mark of the second quarter, and was invisible with one catch for 10 yards.

"Run the ball is what we do well, and stop the run is what they do well," said Tomlinson, who was stuffed for 40 yards on 16 carries (2.5). "So it was kind of our strength against their strength, and they were more physical than us. They just whipped us."

3) An inopportune penalty.

The Vikings were leading only 21-17 when Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers made his only big play of the day, a 40-yard strike to receiver Chris Chambers. The ball was placed at the Vikings' 38-yard line, but receiver Vincent Jackson was penalized five yards for lining up illegally.

The Chargers ran three plays, punted, and the Vikings made it 28-17 on Peterson's 46-yard touchdown run one play later.

"The game kind of got away from us," Chargers coach Norv Turner said.

It sure did. To the point that linebackers Shawne Merriman and Matt Wilhelm said it was "embarrassing" to give up a team-record 378 yards rushing, topping the previous mark of 328 at Denver in 1975.

"I don't want to watch 'SportsCenter' tonight, I know that," strong safety Clinton Hart said. "You just don't think it can happen, because it's never happened. Ever."

Unless the Vikings and Chargers meet in a Super Bowl, the next time L.T. (Tomlinson) meets A.D. (Peterson) will be 2011.

"[Peterson] has a bright future," Tomlinson said. "What happens is, as people start game-planning for you, you have to kind of take your game to a different level. He's going to learn that, and I don't think he's going to have any problems. He's off to a heck of a start. Probably one of the greatest starts of anybody by a running back."

Mark Craig • mcraig@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Tampa 12:05 PM
Philadelphia
LA Clippers 12:00 PM
Chicago
Cleveland 2:30 PM
Houston
Golden State 5:00 PM
Boston
Philadelphia 5:00 PM
Indiana
Portland 5:00 PM
Sacramento
Charlotte 5:00 PM
Orlando
Oklahoma City 5:30 PM
LA Lakers
New Orleans 7:00 PM
Denver
Los Angeles 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Tampa Bay 4:00 PM
Florida
Columbus 4:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Toronto 6:00 PM
Washington
Anaheim 7:00 PM
Dallas
St. Louis 8:30 PM
Vancouver
SMU 1:00 PM
Connecticut
Quinnipiac 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Niagara
Marist 1:00 PM
Rider
Iona 1:00 PM
Saint Peters
Oregon State 2:00 PM
California
South Florida 2:00 PM
Houston
Marquette 2:30 PM
Providence
Michigan State 3:00 PM
Wisconsin
Siena 3:30 PM
Monmouth
Pittsburgh 5:30 PM
Wake Forest
Oregon 6:00 PM
Stanford
Purdue 6:30 PM
Ohio State
Arizona State 7:30 PM
Colorado
Washington St 8:30 PM
UCLA
Georgetown 11:00 AM
Providence
Binghamton 12:00 PM
UMBC
Elon 12:00 PM
Hofstra
Virginia Tech 12:00 PM
Boston College
(8) Louisville 12:00 PM
Virginia
Texas 12:00 PM
West Virginia
Creighton 12:00 PM
Villanova
Seton Hall 12:00 PM
Butler
UNC-Wilmington 12:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
(5) Maryland 12:00 PM
(25) Northwestern
Saint Josephs 12:00 PM
La Salle
Louisiana Tech 12:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Rhode Island 1:00 PM
Massachusetts
Richmond 1:00 PM
VA Commonwealth
Davidson 1:00 PM
Fordham
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Duquesne
George Mason 1:00 PM
(22) George Washington
Indiana 1:00 PM
(20) Rutgers
(12) Texas A&M 1:00 PM
LSU
Ole Miss 1:00 PM
(11) Miss State
Clemson 1:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Maine 1:00 PM
New Hampshire
Vermont 1:00 PM
Albany
Quinnipiac 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Siena
(4) Notre Dame 1:00 PM
NC State
Wisconsin 1:00 PM
Penn State
Stony Brook 1:00 PM
Hartford
Northeastern 1:00 PM
William & Mary
St Johns 1:00 PM
Xavier
James Madison 1:00 PM
Delaware
Towson 2:00 PM
Drexel
Illinois State 2:00 PM
Bradley
Southern Ill 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
Northern Iowa 2:00 PM
Wichita State
Minnesota 2:00 PM
(17) Iowa
(15) North Carolina 2:00 PM
(16) Duke
Alabama 2:00 PM
Auburn
(9) Florida State 2:00 PM
Miami-Florida
Arkansas 2:00 PM
Missouri
Georgia 2:00 PM
Florida
Dayton 2:00 PM
Saint Louis
Drake 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
(10) Arizona State
(19) Stanford 3:00 PM
Oregon
Marquette 3:00 PM
DePaul
Southern Miss 3:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Vanderbilt 4:00 PM
(6) Tennessee
(2) South Carolina 4:00 PM
(13) Kentucky
Utah 4:00 PM
Arizona
Ohio State 4:00 PM
Nebraska
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2014 preseason     
Aug 8 - vs. Oakland 7 pmX10-6
Aug 16 - vs. Arizona 7:30 pmX30-28
Aug 23 - at Kansas City 7 pmX30-12
Aug 28 - at Tennessee 7 pmX19-3
2014 regular season     
Sep 7 - at St. Louis NoonX34-6
Sep 14 - vs. New England NoonX30-7
Sep 21 - at New Orleans NoonX20-9
Sep 28 - vs. Atlanta 3:25 pmX41-28
Oct 2 - at Green Bay 7:25 pmX42-10
Oct 12 - vs. Detroit NoonX17-3
Oct 19 - at. Buffalo NoonX17-16
Oct 26 - at Tampa Bay NoonX19-13 ot
Nov 2 - vs. Washington NoonX29-26
Nov 9 - Bye
Nov 16 - at Chicago NoonX21-13
Nov. 23 - vs. Green Bay NoonX24-21
Nov. 30 - vs. Carolina NoonX31-13
Dec 7 - vs. NY Jets NoonX30-24 ot
Dec 14 - at Detroit 3:25 pmX16-14
Dec 21 - at Miami NoonX37-35
Dec 28 - vs. Chicago NoonX13-9

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: With Adrian Peterson's suspension overturned, what should the Vikings do?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close