The Los Angeles Chargers have been an average team at the midway point in the season, sitting at 4-5 through nine games of the 2023 season.
However, their top wide receiver is not playing at an average level.
The 31-year-old Keenan Allen is tied with Buffalo’s Stefon Diggs for the NFL lead with 73 receptions and is tied for third with 16 receptions for at least 20 yards alongside Miami’s Tyreek Hill and Los Angeles Rams’ Puka Nacua. In that category, he only trails Philadelphia’s A.J. Brown with 18 and Dallas’ CeeDee Lamb with 22.
Allen continues to show why he is one of the best players at his position, year in and year out, with the opportunities he gets and takes advantage of.
Allen, who is on track for his sixth 1,000-yard season, continues to deliver on any given Sunday and can propel the offense with 10 receptions for 200 yards and a touchdown in any game.
Last week against Detroit, Allen did just that, catching 11 receptions on 14 targets for 175 yards and two touchdowns, which were all game highs, despite losing 41-38 at home inside SoFi Stadium.
His 175-yard performance was his third game this season with more than 100 receiving yards, which also included a 215-yard game at Minnesota on Sept. 24 when he caught 18 passes on 20 targets in a 28-24 Chargers victory.
Quarterback Justin Herbert said Allen continues to play at the top and ability to be clutch when the team needs it the most.
“He’s about as tough as it gets,” Herbert said Wednesday of his go-to receiver. “The team leader, the player, the teammate, he does everything for us. To handle everything that has been thrown his way and to continue to battle, to continue to fight, and to keep teaching these young receivers and being the leader that he is, on and off the field, we’re so lucky to have him. I’m so lucky to be able to throw to him.
“He’s one of the best to ever do it.”
Throughout his career, all with the Chargers between San Diego and Los Angeles, Allen has been to five Pro Bowls and is one of five active wide receivers (and six pass catchers) with at least 10,000 receiving yards.
On the same night he recorded his 10,000th receiving yard, he made one of the plays of the season a couple of weeks ago against the Jets.
As he recorded eight receptions for 77 yards, Herbert overthrew Allen a little bit.
However, that was no problem for him as he adjusted by switching to his other shoulder and diving backward for a one-handed catch with his left hand to complete a 23-yard play on third-and-4 early in the fourth quarter of a 27-6 victory.
That success on third downs, and even fourth down this season, has NOT been Allen’s Achilles Heel.
According to Pro Football Focus, Allen leads the NFL with 20 receptions for first downs on third and fourth down opportunities.
The 2017 Associated Press Comeback Player of the Year continues to show his dominance on the football field and even for fantasy football owners, like his teammate, Austin Ekeler.
In points per reception of fantasy football, Allen is the second-best wide receiver at 205.06 points and only trails Hill for the top spot. In addition, he is only one of four wide receivers with at least 200 points and is one of five wide receivers to average at least 20 points per game.
Although Allen only practiced in full on Friday after not practicing on Wednesday and in limited fashion on Thursday, head coach Brandon Staley said he expects his No. 1 receiver to play on Sunday when the team travels to Green Bay at Lambeau Field.
“In his mind, he’ll know sooner than that, but it was good to get him out on the practice field,” Staley said of his top receiver and if he will be a game-time decision.
Kickoff between the Chargers and Packers is set for Sunday at 10:00 a.m.