Final

Vikings 28

(6-3, 3-1 away)

Chargers 42

(2-7, 1-3 home)

4:05 PM ET, November 9, 2003

Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, CA 

1 2 3 4 T
MIN 7 7 0 1428
SD 14 14 7 742

Flutie runs for two TDs

SAN DIEGO (AP) -- Got Flutie? The San Diego Chargers do, and they finally used him from the start of a game.

The payoff was phenomenal.

Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen
Question on the Vikings: Did the Vikings peak too soon?
The Vikings didn't peak too soon, they just ran into three exceptionally hungry football teams. The three teams they've lost to (New York Giants, Green Bay Packers and San Diego Chargers) were all teams that needed a big win. This is still a good football team, and it will be aided by the remaining schedule.

Question on the Chargers: How is it that new quarterbacks always seem to spark their teams?
As shown in Denver, a new quarterback doesn't always mean a spark in the team. But Doug Flutie did a great job getting in there and taking advantage of his opportunity. His particular style gives his team a chance to stay in the game and be competitive.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders.

Two weeks after turning 41, Doug Flutie juked his way to two touchdowns and threw for two more in his first start in nearly two years, leading the San Diego Chargers to a stunning 42-28 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The big performance from the pint-sized Flutie and two touchdown runs by LaDainian Tomlinson -- including a 73-yarder, his longest career TD -- injected some excitement into an otherwise dismal season for the Chargers (2-7).

Tomlinson, who was just 5 when Flutie won the 1984 Heisman Trophy, raved about his quarterback.

"I believe in magic, Flutie magic," Tomlinson said. "He played awesome. Doug Flutie, he's just amazing. He's unbelievable."

Flutie said that age "is just a number. I feel as good as I did when I was 30, that's for sure," he said. "It was fun. I had a blast. It was an emotionally draining day."

Coach Marty Schottenheimer refused to second-guess himself for taking so long to bench the ineffective Drew Brees in favor of the energetic Flutie, whose scrambling ability has kept him playing pro football for 19 years despite being just 5-foot-10.

"I'm not going to get involved in musical chairs with the quarterback," he said. "It can destroy your team."

Or in this case, double a team's win total for the season.

Schottenheimer would only say that Flutie "probably" will start next Sunday at Denver.

"Clearly, it was a very impressive performance," Schottenheimer said.

"The way Doug played today, it's hard to call it a quarterback controversy," Tomlinson said.

The Chargers had no turnovers.

"Guys just made plays. We didn't have the mistakes," Flutie said. "They weren't the best defense in the league -- let's not get too carried away."

Flutie's second rushing touchdown might have been his most impressive moment of the day. On second-and-7 from the Minnesota 13, he fumbled the snap, picked it up and ran straight up the middle before sidestepping safety Brian Russell and diving into the end zone for a 42-21 lead midway through the fourth quarter.

Flutie shook his head, as if wondering whether it was all real.

"It was one of those days where things went right," Flutie said.

Flutie got a hug on the sideline from Brees, who was benched after throwing five interceptions and no TD passes in the last three games.

The Vikings didn't sell Flutie short.

"He's 41 years old but he still plays like a young kid," linebacker Henri Crockett said.

"He kept them on the field," Vikings quarterback Daunte Culpepper said. "I have a lot of respect for him."

The 42 points were the most for the Chargers since they beat Miami 45-20 on Dec. 27, 1993, a span of 153 games. Their 458 yards were a season-high.

Minnesota (6-3) lost its third straight game. Culpepper completed 32 of 44 passes for a career-high 370 yards and four touchdowns, which tied his career-high. Randy Moss had 11 catches for 120 yards and one touchdown, a 4-yarder.

The Chargers allowed 460 yards, but had two second-half takeaways, including intercepting Culpepper in the end zone late in the game.

Flutie was 21-of-29 for 248 yards and no interceptions in his first start since 2001. Tomlinson had 162 yards on 16 carries.

Flutie's first scoring run was pretty impressive, too. On third-and-goal from the 3 in the second quarter, Flutie dropped back, dodged defensive end Lance Johnstone and then broke for the end zone. He put a Tomlinson-like move on Kevin Williams at the 2 and scored for a 21-7 lead.

He jumped as high as a 5-foot-10 player can, then spiked the ball.

Flutie picked up where he left off a week earlier, when he relieved Brees in the fourth quarter at Chicago and led the Chargers on their only scoring drive in a 20-7 loss.

The Chargers scored on all four possessions in the first half, matching their TD total from the last three games combined. In leading 28-14 at halftime, they scored more points than they did total in all but one game previously this year.

Flutie's TD passes went 3 yards to David Boston and 4 yards to rookie tight end Antonio Gates, his first NFL score.

Tomlinson's 73-yard TD run came after he took a pitch from Flutie and raced down the left sideline, leaving the last defender grasping at air at the 20.

Culpepper also threw TD passes of 31 and 2 yards to running back Moe Williams, and 19 yards to Nate Burleson.

Game notes


The Chargers, last in the NFL in third-down conversions, were 6-of-9. ... Chargers C Cory Raymer broke his right hand and DE Raylee Johnson sprained his left foot. ... The Vikings were penalized 10 times for 107 yards.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Team Stat Comparison

 
Minnesota
San Diego
1st Downs2726
3rd down efficiency
10-146-9
4th down efficiency
1-10-0
Total Yards460458
Yards per play6.68.0
Total Drives34
Passing350247
Comp-Att
32-4421-29
Yards per pass
8.08.5
Interceptions thrown
10
Sacks-Yards Lost
3-202-1
Rushing110211
Rushing Attempts
2326
Yards per rush
4.88.1
Penalties10-1076-49
Turnovers20
Fumbles lost
10
Interceptions thrown
10
Possession33:0826:52

Passing Leaders

MINC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Culpepper32/443708.4413-20
SDC/ATTYDSAVGTDINTSACKS
Flutie21/292488.6202-1

Rushing Leaders

MINCARYDSAVGTDLG
Williams12453.8012
Culpepper6427.0010
SDCARYDSAVGTDLG
Tomlinson1616210.1273
Dwight22613.0018

Receiving Leaders

MINRECYDSAVGTDLG
Williams1112611.5231
Moss1112010.9123
SDRECYDSAVGTDLG
Boston78211.7128
Gates35518.3126

Scoring Summary

FIRST QUARTERMINSD
TD3:13DAVID BOSTON 3 YD PASS FROM DOUG FLUTIE (STEVE CHRISTIE KICK)
Drive: 7 plays, 63 yds, 3:13
07
TD7:09LADAINIAN TOMLINSON 73 YD RUN (STEVE CHRISTIE KICK)
Drive: 5 plays, 85 yds, 1:59
014
TD12:51RANDY MOSS 4 YD PASS FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER (AARON ELLING KICK)
Drive: 10 plays, 80 yds, 5:42
714
SECOND QUARTERMINSD
TD3:24DOUG FLUTIE 3 YD RUN (STEVE CHRISTIE KICK)
Drive: 12 plays, 68 yds, 5:33
721
TD10:18NATE BURLESON 19 YD PASS FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER (AARON ELLING KICK)
Drive: 11 plays, 83 yds, 6:54
1421
TD14:35ANTONIO GATES 4 YD PASS FROM DOUG FLUTIE (STEVE CHRISTIE KICK)
Drive: 10 plays, 66 yds, 4:17
1428
THIRD QUARTERMINSD
TD13:24LADAINIAN TOMLINSON 1 YD RUN (STEVE CHRISTIE KICK)
Drive: 6 plays, 57 yds, 3:09
1435
FOURTH QUARTERMINSD
TD0:12MOE WILLIAMS 31 YD PASS FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER (AARON ELLING KICK)
Drive: 4 plays, 52 yds, 1:48
2135
TD6:49DOUG FLUTIE 13 YD RUN (STEVE CHRISTIE KICK)
Drive: 5 plays, 73 yds, 2:56
2142
TD10:40MOE WILLIAMS 2 YD PASS FROM DAUNTE CULPEPPER (AARON ELLING KICK)
Drive: 10 plays, 57 yds, 3:51
2842