It was at some point during the first half, when he was lined up close to the Buffalo Bills’ sideline, that Keenan Allen looked over to let Defensive Coordinator Leslie Frazier know exactly what was going on.
“It’s kind of funny,” Allen said after the game when asked about the Bills’ ability to cover him. “I told their defensive coordinator they couldn’t cover me. They’re probably always feeling that on that sideline (when it comes to covering me).”
It’s one thing to talk a big game.
It’s another to back it up, which is exactly what Allen did, putting up a Pro Bowl performance against Buffalo.
KA13 caught 12 passes for 159 yards and a pair of touchdowns, authoring one of the finest performances of his career. His 12 catches were the third-most in a single game in his career, while his 159 receiving yards were the second highest. Allen did most of his damage in the first half, snaring nine passes for 123 yards. It marked the first time a Charger passed the century mark in the first half since Tyrell Williams did it last year against the Miami Dolphins. Meanwhile, Allen’s two touchdown catches tied his career-high for most in a single game.
As far as Allen is concerned, if he gets into a groove early, it’s all over for the defense.
“I told my coach, once I get into a groove, once I get that first catch, if it’s early, I’m in the groove already,” he said. “Just getting started early. Once the ball gets to me early and I get it in my hands, I’m already in my zone. I’m already talking to Philip (Rivers) saying, ‘Hey, what can get them on this? We can get them on that.’ I just try to get into the best position after that.”
Confidence is of the utmost importance for every player, but perhaps no position requires more swagger than wide receiver.
To that end, Allen possesses confidence in spades. In fact, Russell Okung can’t recall many players having more of it than KA13.
“Keenan is extremely consistent, and the guy’s hubris is insane,” Okung said. “The guy believes in himself more than anything. I think to me that’s what makes him a really good player. The ball gets in his hands, he snatches it. He gets yards after the catch. The guy’s really good.”
“Keenan has a lot of confidence anyways,” Head Coach Anthony Lynn added before joking, “sometimes too much!”
Meanwhile, Rivers has thrown to more wide receivers over the years than I can probably name at this point. However, Allen’s ability to beat his man one-on-one is a unique gift that sets him apart from the rest.
“To me, guys that can win one-on-one, guys that are tough to cover in one-on-one matchups, that’s the first thing (that makes them special),” he said. “(Allen) can win his fair share most of the time. Other than that, he’s such a smart receiver. I’ve said that many times. He knows our offense. He can play any position and he can tell you what anybody has to do on every play. That, and then he has great body language as far as how he talks to me with things he’s doing. He had three or four catches today that were kind of option routes. Things where I pretty much told him, ‘Hey, you really can’t be wrong here. I’m literally going to just stare at you, and you can do what you want.’ When he has that type of freedom, but at the same time he understands what it looks like from right there, he makes really good decisions. Makes it an easy target to get the ball in his hands.”
Bills vs. Chargers In-Game
The Chargers take on the Buffalo Bills for the annual Salute to Service game.