DENVER -- He hadn’t caught a touchdown pass in nearly two years, so it’s a bit understandable that Keenan Allen was excited when he reeled in a 5-yard in route from Philip Rivers for a score late in the game in a 24-21 loss to the Denver Broncos on Monday night.
Allen missed all but one half of football last year after suffering an ACL injury in the first half of his team’s season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
The year before that, Allen suffered a lacerated kidney against the Baltimore Ravens in Week 8, coming down hard on a 13-yard touchdown catch on Nov. 1, 2015 -- his last touchdown reception before Monday.
At that time, Allen was on pace for a historic year, statistically. Through eight games, he had 67 receptions for 725 yards and four touchdowns.
On Monday against the Broncos, Allen received a penalty for taunting after he threw the ball toward cornerback Chris Harris Jr., who was covering him.
“I got in the end zone, and it was a great play, a great ball by Phil,” Allen said. “I thought it was a ticky-tack flag. He called some crazy stuff. But yeah, it was fun to get back into the end zone, and hopefully I can keep doing it.”
Allen finished the game with five catches for 35 yards on 10 targets. He played in 53 of the Chargers’ 59 snaps on offense.
However, the Cal product had an uncharacteristic two drops. According to ESPN Stats & Information, this was first time in his five-year career that Allen had multiple drops in one game.
Most important, Allen appeared to finish the game healthy and ready to play in his team’s first home contest at the StubHub Center against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
“We kept shooting ourselves in the foot, making one or two bad plays every drive,” Allen said about his team’s struggles on offense against Denver. “Going backwards, or whatever the case may be, I’ve got to go back and watch, see what really happened on film so we can correct it.”
Here’s a closer look at snap counts for the Chargers in the team’s Week 1 contest vs. the Broncos:
OFFENSE (Based on 59 snaps)
Quarterback -- Philip Rivers 59, Kellen Clemens 0.
Offensive analysis -- Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said he wished his offense ran the football more against Denver’s defense with the hopes of eventually wearing them down. However, the Chargers managed just 64 rushing yards on 22 carries for a 2.9-per carry average. ...The Chargers finished a disappointing 3 of 12 (25 percent) on third down offensively. ... The Bolts did a decent job protecting Rivers, giving up just one sack. ...The Chargers managed just four plays of 12 yards or more.
DEFENSE (Based on 69 snaps)
Defensive analysis -- The Broncos held a 34:13 to 25:47 edge in time of possession. ... The Chargers’ defense gave up 140 rushing yards on 36 carries for a 3.9 per carry average. ... LB Jatavis Brown led the Chargers with 14 combined tackles against the Broncos. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa each had 1.5 sacks. ... Denver quarterback Trevor Siemian finished 7 of 12 for 69 yards on third down against the Chargers, with two touchdown passes and an interception. Siemian was sacked just once, posting a 94.6 passer rating on third down.