The Chargers suffered a crushing defeat at the hands of the Houston Texans on Sunday, but Keenan Allen continued to show out in a big way and receives this week’s lone game ball.
The Los Angeles Chargers continued their unfortunate trend of poor second half play in a loss on Sunday to Deshaun Watson and the Texans. It really was a tale of two halves for the Chargers, as initially the offense was humming and the defense seemed to get a much needed boost by the return of Denzel Perryman. Desmond King had a timely fumble recovery, which was followed up by a beautiful touchdown grab by Keenan Allen to get things going early for the Chargers. Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson were running hard in the first half, and everything seemed to be going great.
Then the team came out at halftime and really laid an egg. An untimely turnover in the red zone, a bunch of drive-stopping penalties, and some bad drops resulted in a very sloppy second half which ultimately led to the loss. Unfortunately for the Chargers, it seemed that Allen was the lone Charger to put out consistent effort through all four quarters, and for that he receives this week’s game ball.
It is time for Allen to get the national recognition he deserves. In terms of the wide receivers around the league he is playing as good as, if not better than, anyone else right now. On Sunday he finished with an absurd 13 catches on 17 targets for 183 yards and two touchdowns (including a beautiful homage to Chargers legend LaDainian Tomlinson). His 404 receving yards via 29 catches on 43 targets currently leads the league, and he has added three touchdowns for good measure. He already has two 100+ yard receiving games in three games this season, he only had three such performances all of last season.
Amid the growing sense of frustration in the 1-2 start, Chargers fans can take some solace in the play of Allen so far. It is clear he has fully launched himself into that elite level of wide receivers.
Keenan Allen put his defender on skates, then hit'em with the LT celebration after scoring ??
— FOX Sports: NFL (@NFLonFOX) September 22, 2019
Coming into the season, the Chargers were loaded with playmakers on offense. Fast forwarding to today, and the offense is dealing with a certain holdout and injuries to Hunter Henry and Mike Williams. Ekeler was fantastic in the team’s first two games, but the team seemed to forget about him on Sunday. This led to a full-on Keenan Allen clinic, with Rivers looking his way early and often. He put on a beautiful display of footwork, quickness, explosiveness and route separation. Allen has always come up in the clutch between the twenties for this team, but with all the injuries he has also been thrust into the role of red zone focal point. Through three games, he has five catches for 36 yards and two touchdowns in that area. He only had ten such catches all of last season.
The Texans’ defense threw everything they could at Allen and he consistently got free for clutch grabs, including the fourth-down conversion of what could have been the game tying drive for the Chargers. Allen has laid it all on the line in the teams’ first three games, and it has resulted in some big time numbers for the star receiver. There was confidence in Allen before the season began, but he has far exceeded any of those expectations so far.