Philip Rivers said on Wednesday that it would take a group effort to make up for the loss of Keenan Allen. The quarterback believed that the Chargers would need some games where one of the wide receivers had six or seven catches for over 100 yards, while everyone else did their part.
Number 17's words proved prophetic as that was the exact recipe for success in the 38-14 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Travis Benjamin caught all six of his targets for 115 yards and two touchdowns, while Tyrell Williams had three catches for 61 yards and one score. Even without his number one receiver, Rivers tied a career-high with four touchdown passes.
"That's just what we talked about on Wednesday," he said. "We said they're going to have to have some six for 100-something yard games, and Travis did that today with two touchdowns. Obviously Tyrell had the huge touchdown on the shallow (crosser). You're seeing now that he can just really run. They both can fly. So we're going to need more of that as we go through the year."
Benjamin showcased everything the Chargers hoped he would when they inked him to a four-year contract in March. He came through with clutch catches, explosive plays, including a 45-yard touchdown, and averaged 19.2 yards per catch.
Antonio Gates has played with dozens of wide receivers over his 14-year career, but says he's never seen one faster than Benjamin.
"He is one of those guys who is one-play away from going to the house. He is definitely one of the fastest guys in the NFL. You see him do things and it seems it is easy when you watch him do it, but the guys who play in the league, they understand how difficult it is to run past guys. Especially when it is one of the best athletes on the opposite team. The way he is running past them, it's unbelievable to see a guy with that type of speed."
Meanwhile, Williams was just as important to the team's success. It wasn't perfect as the second-year pro continues to endure growing pains, but he's quickly made a name for himself with a rare combination of size and speed.
His touchdown is one that is sure to make the highlight reels as well.
On 3rd-and-12 from the Jaguars' 44, Williams caught a crossing route, turned on the jets to speed up field and then spun away from multiple defenders to give San Diego a 28-0 lead.
"I just kind of opened up and I used my speed to get in the end zone," he said. "It worked out. Last week I remembered I ran out of bounds on a couple of others, so this week I wanted to make sure I cut up and to tried to get in there…. When Keenan went down, we all knew we had to step it up. Everybody needs to try to fill the void as much as possible. He is one of the best receivers in the league. I think we all came in there, filled it and did pretty well."
Williams also drew praise from his quarterback. While they had a miscommunication in the end zone toward the end of the first half that led to a turnover, Rivers still trusted number 16 to come through in the clutch. After all, it's all part of the maturation process.
"We had one hiccup there in the red zone on the sack-fumble," Rivers said. "He's a young player and you're going to have some of those little things that come up. And then later in the game, we ended up getting the field goal in the drive. I changed the route and he looked at me like, 'OK, I think I know what you want me to do.' And he did it. We converted a third down. We're going to have to grow through the season. He's a guy that we never expected to be in this exact position but we knew he was going to be a player for us. With him and Travis both, there are going to be things we learn together on the field and we just have to make sure as we're growing together, that we are winning. It can't be one of those wasted years while we're getting to know each other. We need to do it on the run and do it in a hurry. I know those guys are capable and excited about making that happen."