One lone bright spot in the San Diego Chargers embarrassing loss to the Oakland Raiders on Sunday was the performances by the two young receivers the team needs to step up. Vincent Brown and Keenan Allen, who are starting in the places of Malcom Floyd and Danario Alexander who are out for the season, both went over 100 yards receiving on the night.
The coaching staff looks like they are figuring out the best way to utilize Brown. Brown, who doesn’t have the greatest speed but has excellent ball skills and route-running ability, averaged five to six yards per catch in each game before Sunday night when he caught eight passes for 117 yards (14.6 yards per catch). The quick Eddie Royal appears to be the better fit to run underneath routes, which should free up Brown to run intermediate and even deep routes. Brown demonstrated his ball skills by adjusting to a deep ball and catching it over his head, resulting in a 51-yard gain. He also demonstrated his route-running ability by selling a double-move that resulted in a touchdown, but was called back due to a penalty.
Meanwhile, Allen had a second straight solid game. The rookie finished with six catches for 115 yards and a touchdown, but was close to having three touchdowns. He was barely out of bounds on one touchdown catch and easily beat D.J. Hayden on a slant route that would’ve been a touchdown if Philip Rivers hadn’t been so late on the throw. His one touchdown catch that stood was a thing of beauty, breaking the tackle of Mike Jenkins and fighting his way into the endzone for his first career touchdown.
The future looks bright for the two talented receivers. Allen, 21, and Brown, 24, have plenty of room for growth as well and should continue improving as the season moves on. If Allen and Brown continue playing at a high level, the Chargers have the option of keeping them as starters next season and letting go of the oft-injured Floyd and Alexander.