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Rookie Keenan Allen has "Coming Alive" Game

Posted Sep 29, 2013

Wide receiver Keenan Allen had his best game of his rookie year.

Keenan Allen sat at his locker and smiled before answering the question all first-year players are asked after great games.

"No," said Allen with a grin, "I don't feel like a rookie out there anymore."

The Cal product picked a great game to break out.  Against a stout Cowboys defense with two tough corners, he enjoyed his finest game as a Charger. 

That sample size is small, but it bodes well for Allen, and his team that played without Malcom Floyd,  that the receiver can be inserted into the starting lineup without any noticeable drop off.

Coach Mike McCoy said he was pleased with Allen’s performance against the Cowboys.

“He’s a young player who’s getting better every week,” said McCoy. “The more reps he gets, the better he’s going to be.  And when you play a game like we played today – an up-tempo, no-huddle (game) – you don’t have a lot of time to think.  He made the most of every opportunity he got today.”

Allen’s number was called early on Sunday.  He burst past Morris Claiborne on the Bolts’ second drive before planting his foot and pivoting. Rivers put the ball on the money and completed a back-shoulder fade Claiborne had no chance of stopping.

It usually takes a lot longer than four games to develop that rapport with a quarterback.  From that first throw, it was clear Allen and Philip Rivers were on the same page.

“Who would’ve thought that we weren’t going to have DA (Danario Alexander) and Malcom (Floyd) to start the season,” said Rivers. "Keenan Allen got thrown in there sooner than everyone thought and he was big today.”

The third-round pick saved his biggest catches for the game's biggest spots.  The Chargers offense took the field after halftime as an offense that saw Sean Lee seize some momentum with a big pick-six.  Allen helped reverse that momentum and get it back on the Chargers' side.

The Bolts were down by a point when Allen started a drive off with a toe-tapping catch.  He watched the bullet pass from Rivers snap into his hands before switching his focus to his cleats -- and both feet got in for a big 19-yard pickup.

Then, he beat Claiborne again for a ten-yard gain that drove the Chargers into field goal range and set them up to take the lead for good. 

His five total receptions, coupled with a few key blocks to close the game out and some contributions on special teams, closed out a full day for any player -- let alone a rookie.  But Allen said he wants to do more going forward, and today was a big step in that direction. 

“Keenan Allen stepped up,” said Rivers after the game. “This was kind of his ‘coming alive’ game.”

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