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Keenan Allen Makes History in Victory
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It seems after each game this year, there has been reason to sing the praises of Keenan Allen.
Sunday against the Giants was no different.The third-round pick out of Cal notched his 59th, 60th and 61stcatches of the season, setting a new Chargers record for a rookie, besting LaDainian Tomlinson’s mark of 59 set in 2001.
"Keenan was great again,” said Philip Rivers. "That's pretty impressive. (61) catches, that’s awesome when you think about all the receivers that have been through here."
Still, a testament to the type of player Allen is, he said he was able to enjoy the record knowing that it came with a big win.
“To set a franchise record meant a lot,” he said. “But at the same time, if I did it and we didn’t get a ‘W’ it wouldn’t have meant anything. So it was definitely more special to have it come in a win.”
Allen tied the mark with a sensational 43-yard touchdown to open the floodgates for another strong outing by the Chargers offense. On 3rd-and-3, Rivers looked deep and found the rookie on a perfectly thrown ball on what turned into a career-long reception. Allen caught it in stride and tip-toed up the sideline before leaping for the near pylon for the score.
It was an athletic play by an athletic receiver, and one his teammates are becoming accustomed to seeing.
“That was a phenomenal play,” said fellow rookie D.J. Fluker. “He has all the talent in the world. He really does. Keenan has all the ability in the world. He goes out there and he just does it. Now, he messes up sometimes and he knows it, and Philip will tell him. But he doesn’t let that bother him and he comes back with plays like that one.”
In turn, Allen believes he can make any play out there in part due to the confidence his teammates have given him.
“It’s just the confidence I have and that the guys and coaches give me throughout practice,” he said. “You make those plays in practice and then you make them in the game and it’s just like practice.”
Allen broke the rookie record with a third down catch at the end of the first quarter in which he injured his shoulder. He went into the locker room for further evaluations, and when he came back out of the tunnel later in the second quarter, he did so to a raucous ovation from the crowd.
How did he respond to that show of support?
By catching his second touchdown of the game, this one in the back left corner of the end zone to make it 17-0.
That score gave Allen the first multi-touchdown game of his career. The last Chargers rookie to score two touchdowns in a game was Seyi Ajirotutu back on Nov. 7, 2010 against the Houston Texans. Overall, Head Coach Mike McCoy says the rookie keeps improving with each game that passes, noting that he has a very bright future.
“Keenan has gotten better every week,” he said. “And we talked about it every week with him about continuing to build and taking it one day at a time. Like I mentioned to you guys before, I spoke to his father during the Jacksonville week and he said the exact same thing, the same thing Keenan said – ‘Just keep going and keep grinding. Fred (Graves) and Nick (Sirianni) have done a great job working with him. The kid’s learning to be a pro and he’ll tell you that he has a long way to go. There are other things he can clean up, but he’s done a great job. He’s done better every day out there. Obviously he and Philip are starting to time things up the right way.”