By Dave Thomas
With questions on the offensive line and the inability to play shutdown defense for four quarters, the San Diego Chargers take their 1-1 record to Minnesota this Sunday for a meeting with the NFC North Division Vikings.
Giving up 28 and 24 points to Detroit and Cincinnati, respectively in their first two contests, the Bolts hope to field a full 60-minute defensive effort against a Minnesota team that is also 1-1, this after a season-opening loss at San Francisco and a home win last Sunday versus division foe Detroit.
In San Diego’s 24-19 loss at Cincinnati, the Chargers continued a pattern that is also a reason for concern despite this only being two games into the 2015 campaign, turnovers.
Too Many Turnovers Early On
In comments to Chargers.com this week, head coach Mike McCoy commented that six turnovers in just 120 minutes of play this season is not acceptable.
According to McCoy, the Chargers have to better value the football, cutting down on giving the opponent opportunities when losing possession of the ball.
The most notable turnover this past Sunday was when Keenan Allen dropped a punt, giving Andy Dalton and the Bengals prime field position, something they would cash-in on for an early lead. Allen, who is best-known for playing the wide receiver position, looked to be taking his eyes off the ball as he was trying to field it, something that almost always leads to trouble.
Another area the Chargers know they need to address is protecting quarterback Philip Rivers.
In the Cincinnati game, Rivers was sacked four times for a total of 18 yards lost. While the yardage may not sound like a ton for 60 minutes of football, keep in mind that his counterpart, Dalton, was not sacked at all on the day.
Which Vikings Team Shows Up?
When San Diego squares off against Minnesota, it will be left to ponder which Vikings team will show up.
Will it be the one that look downright dismal in a season-opening loss to the not so highly regarded San Francisco 49ers, or will it be the Minnesota squad that controlled the better part of the game in beating Detroit this past Sunday?
After two games, second-year quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has thrown for 384 yards (94.1 QB rating), with Mike Wallace leading the way in receiving with 101 yards. On the ground, veteran running back Adrian Peterson has rushed for 165 yards.
Defensively, Anthony Barr and Harrison Smith are tied for the team lead with 14 total tackles each.
With the Chargers returning to AFC action for three of their four games in the month of October, getting a win on the road this Sunday in Minnesota would be big. San Diego’s only road contest next month is a trip to Green Bay Oct. 18 and legendary Lambeau Field, certainly a site that is not easy for opposing teams to come away with a victory.
Before October, however, the focus is all on the purple and gold.
Making this Sunday’s game with Minnesota a little more intriguing, the Vikings’ offensive coordinator is none other than former San Diego head coach Norv Turner (2007-2012), who guided the Bolts to the AFC Championship game for the 2007 season (lost to New England).
With a victory against the Vikings, San Diego can then return home and look to make it a winning October, a month where it plays three of its four games (Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Oakland) at home.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.