While Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy was an understandable candidate for the 2013 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year Award, the hardware really should have gone to San Diego Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen.
If it wasn’t for the sudden emergence of Allen as a go-to wide receiver, Philip Rivers wouldn’t have enjoyed the astonishing year that earned him 2013 NFL Comeback Player of the Year. If it wasn’t for Allen, the Chargers wouldn’t have made the playoffs. Allen was a key component to San Diego’s late-season run, and that’s why he belongs at the top instead of Lacy.
After not even seeing a snap in Week 1 of the 2013 campaign, Allen persevered and found his way into the starting lineup by Week 3; injuries, however, played a significant part in that. Allen didn’t allow the opportunity to go to waste, though.
Throughout the season, Allen hauled in 71 passes for 1,046 yards (sixth-most by a rookie in NFL history) and eight touchdowns (third-most by a rookie in NFL history). According to Pro Football Focus, Allen finished the year as the No. 10 rated receiver, beating out the likes of Larry Fitzgerald, Josh Gordon and A.J. Green. Not too shabby for a third-round pick.
In the end, though, Allen deserved the edge over Lacy because of how he carried the passing game through the second half of the season. He overcome almost quitting after Week 1 to become the Chargers’ go-to receiver.
Half the time, Lacy couldn’t stay in the lineup due to injury or was replaced by James Starks. He put the offense on his shoulders when Aaron Rodgers was out, but became irrelevant again when he came back. In his final two games of the season (including Wild Card Round), Lacy averaged 3.5 yards per carry.
Allen, meanwhile, had a career game in the Divisional Round against the Denver Broncos, nearly lifting the Chargers to the AFC Championship.
It’s not to say that it was a snub, but Allen deserved it just a hair more.