The first pass went to Keenan Allen for 17 yards and the first third was converted by Mike Williams with a 15-yard catch.
The Chargers welcomed back their top two wide receivers last weekend against Kansas City and – if only briefly – the offense looked powerful again as they scored on four of their five possessions in the first half.
“Keenan and Mike do what they do for a reason, right?” said center Corey Linsley. “They get $20 million or whatever [per season] because they are amazing. They are difference makers. Then, them being difference makers, opens up the whole offense.
Williams aggravated his sprained ankle on his only reception, quickly ending his night against the Chiefs. He missed the last two days of practice, casting serious doubts on his availability on Sunday when the Chargers play in Arizona.
Allen, who struggled with a hamstring issue suffered in the season opener, finished with five catches for 94 yards in a performance coach Brandon Staley said “exceeded my expectations for sure. ”
As they prepare to face the Cardinals, the Chargers can take it as a positive that Allen came out healthy and plans to go all out.
“Sometimes it’s just a feeling of confidence to have those two in the squad,” offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said. “I think it kind of permeates the whole group when these guys are in there. It makes everyone feel better. … It makes a difference, that’s for sure.
The highlight for Allen came in the final four minutes of the game when, on the third and 18th, he sprinted down the right side and found himself on the other end of a 46-yard bomb from Justin Herbert.
The situation was so desperate that Lombardi called it a “third and Californian” play, a reference he brought with him from his previous job in New Orleans. “Just forever,” Lombardi explained. “Third and extra long.”
Allen’s catch helped set up a six-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Joshua Palmer as the Chargers took a late lead that Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes recaptured just a minute later in a 30 win -27 from the Chiefs.
“The odds are stacked against you,” Herbert said, noting down and distance. “But when you have a guy like Keenan, you have to give him a chance. Just put the ball up there, knowing he’s going to fight for it. He made an incredible game on it.
In their first 29 games together this season, Herbert has targeted Allen 296 times. That’s an average of 10.2 per game. Twice, Herbert targeted him 19 times, tying Allen’s career high.
So when Allen was injured in Week 1 and didn’t return to anything close to 100% until Week 11, it’s understandable that Herbert and the offense seemed uncomfortable.
“Have [No.] 13 there, he just adds something special,” Herbert said after the Kansas City game. “We know what a competitor he is and the fighter he is. He got to work. It’s just good to see him back there.
The Chargers will likely need more Allen against Arizona in a game they’re favorites in, one that carries significant weight in their quest for a playoff berth.
Lombardi spoke on Thursday about the “trust factor” that exists between Herbert and Allen, explaining that their many sparring reps have forged a shared trust together.
If Williams is unavailable on Sunday, that trust should become an even bigger bond.
Cornerback Bryce Callahan (groin) returned to practice in a limited capacity after missing Wednesday. The Chargers added cornerback Michael Davis (knee) to their injury report. He too was limited.
Punter JK Scott (quadriceps) was limited for the second day in a row. The Chargers eliminated four bettors on Thursday as a precaution if Scott can’t play on Sunday.
Source : BBN NEWS