CARSON, Calif. -- Now that’s more like it.
And the emergence of Keenan Allen was at the center of the Chargers’ resurgent effort. The Cal product finished with 12 receptions for 159 yards and two touchdowns on 13 targets, as quarterback Philip Rivers consistently looked for Allen throughout the game.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, it was Allen’s first career game with at least 150 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns, and he became the first Charger since Vince Jackson in 2011 to accomplish that feat (172 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns).
“Once the ball gets to me early and I get it in my hands, I’m already in my zone,” Allen said. “I’m already talking to Philip saying, ‘Hey we can get them on this, we can get them on that.’ I just try to get into the best position after that.’”
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn said Allen is down from 218 pounds during training camp to 207 now, and he is fully healthy after suffering a torn ACL in his right knee at the start of the 2016 season.
“That was the matchup,” Lynn said about Allen’s big game. “We liked the matchup on the field with Keenan Allen and their corner. Keenan had a hell of a game.”
Entering Sunday’s contest, the Chargers were No. 29 in the NFL in third-down efficiency at 33.9 percent, but against the Bills, they finished 7 of 14 (50 percent) on third down.
One of the reasons for that success is that the Chargers did a better job on first down. They still ran the ball eight out of 12 times on first down but averaged 6 yards per play when doing so.
Because the defense forced six turnovers, the Chargers had better field position, with an average starting drive of their own 44-yard line.
“We had a better flow to us,” Rivers said about the offense. “We all played a little better. I don’t know that there’s a magic formula that we used today. The defense played great, and we didn’t turn it over. We didn’t kill ourselves with any silly penalties.”
Here’s the Week 11 snap counts for the Chargers against the Bills:
OFFENSE (Based on 74 snaps)
Quarterback -- Rivers 57, Kellen Clemens 17.
Offensive analysis -- Gordon rushed for 80 yards on Sunday to move his career total to 2,271. He passed Gary Anderson for 10th all-time on the Chargers rushing list. ... Rivers improved to 5-1 in his career against Buffalo. He has thrown 10 touchdowns to just one interception in those six games. ... As a team, the Chargers rushed for 146 yards on 35 carries for an average of 4.2 yards per carry. ... Clemens finished 5 of 5 for 33 passing yards in the fourth quarter.
DEFENSE (Based on 65 snaps)
Defensive analysis -- The six takeaways on Sunday were the most by the Chargers in a single game since Week 8 of the 1990 season. The five first-half interceptions are the most in a single half in team history. ... Hayward picked off his second and third passes of the season. The interceptions were the 18th and 19th of his career. The multi-interception game was the third of his career. ... Ingram recorded his first career touchdown when he returned a fumble 39 yards for the score late in the third quarter.