Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vikings Put a December Chill on Browns; Chargers Top Cards

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Vikings Put a December Chill on Browns; Chargers Top Cards

Article excerpt

December belongs to the Minnesota Vikings, and the Cleveland Browns couldn't do anything about that Saturday.

Charles Evans scored the first two touchdowns of his National Football League career, and rookie Orlando Thomas led a swarming defense with two interceptions in host Minnesota's 27-11 victory, its fifth in six games.

The Vikings (8-6) are 11-4 in the final month of the regular season during coach Dennis Green's four seasons. Only San Francisco has a better December record during that time (10-3), and those two teams play Dec. 18 on the West Coast.

With a 3-5 record in their division, the Vikings probably cannot afford to lose to the 49ers or at Cincinnati if they hope to make Green the fifth coach in NFL history to reach the playoffs each of his first four seasons.

Thoughts of the playoffs faded long ago for the Browns (4-10), seemingly demoralized by owner Art Modell's attempt to move the franchise to Baltimore. Cleveland lost its sixth consecutive game and its ninth in the last 10.

The Browns also lost quarterback Vinny Testaverde with a pulled groin and bruised hip at the start of the second quarter, and Eric Zeier played poorly in his place.

Playing their least-inspired game since the first half of the season, the Vikings led just 13-3 at halftime on Warren Moon's 1-yard pass to Evans, a third-year running back, and two field goals by Fuad Reveiz.

But Minnesota held the Browns to minus-5 yards in the third quarter, and Moon's 8-yard pass to Jake Reed made it 20-3 with 5:43 left in the quarter.

Moon completed 20 of 29 passes for 267 yards, with one touchdown and an interception before bruising ribs and leaving in favor of Brad Johnson. The injury, which didn't appear to be serious, came when Moon was hit on the back as he threw his TD pass to Reed.

After Thomas' first interception, Johnson came in and led Minnesota to another score, Evans' 2-yard dive to make it 27-3 with 12:59 left in the game.

Chargers 28, Cardinals 25: In the flash of an Andre Coleman kickoff return, the San Diego Chargers found the spark to burn Buddy Ball.

Coleman, San Diego's dynamic return specialist, ran back the second-half kickoff 92 yards for the go-ahead touchdown, helping the Chargers to a win over the visiting Arizona Cardinals. …

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