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3 things we learned about the Chargers

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MINNEAPOLIS — Keenan Allen was one of the few bright spots for the San Diego Chargers in a 31-14 loss to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.

The wide receiver finished with 12 catches for 133 yards and two touchdowns. His 34-yard scoring reception with 1:17 before the half gave the Chargers life heading into the break, but San Diego couldn’t build on it coming out of the locker room.

“I try to do what I can for the team and try to make plays,” Allen said. “Hopefully, we can come together and get some wins.”

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 246 yards on 21-of-34 passing with a touchdown and an interception. Rivers has thrown an interception in nine consecutive games, the longest streak in the NFL.

“We had our chances,” Rivers said. “We got across the 50-(yard line) early in the game twice and just didn’t do anything with it.”

Allen scored his second touchdown late in the game on a 19-yard reception from backup quarterback Kellen Clemens.

San Diego rushed for 90 yards as a team on 28 carries. Rookie Melvin Gordon carried 14 times for 51 yards.

“Nothing went right today from start to finish,” Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. “We were not good enough on the road against a very well-coached team.”

Minnesota’s defense sacked Rivers four times and forced a fumble in the second that the Vikings turned into a field goal.

“He is comfortable when he sits in the pocket and steps into his throws,” Vikings linebacker Anthony Barr said. “We knew we were going to have to take that away. We knew we had to fly around and put bodies in his way.”

What we learned about the Chargers

1. Keenan Allen’s sophomore slump is a thing of the past. After a big rookie season with 71 receptions for 1,046 yards and eight touchdowns, Allen regressed a year ago, hauling in four touchdown passes and racking up 783 yards. Through three weeks this season, Allen could be poised for a big season. For the second time in three games, Allen caught at least 12 balls and topped 100 yards. Sunday’s game was perhaps the best of his career: 12 catches, 133 yards and two touchdowns on 18 targets.

2. A number of injuries along the offensive line have stunted the Chargers’ balance on offense. The good news: Guard D.J. Fluker returned after a Week 1 ankle injury. The bad news: San Diego was without three starting players along the offensive front at one point Sunday, including an ankle injury to left guard Orlando Franklin, who left the game in the second quarter and did not return. Getting healthy up front would wonders for the Chargers’ ability to establish an offensive identity.

3. Danny Woodhead needs to be more involved in the offense if the Chargers want to turn things around after their 1-2 start. Woodhead accounted for 62 yards and two touchdowns in San Diego’s Week 1 win over Detroit. He was heavily involved late in the game last week as the Chargers’ second-half rally fell short in Cincinnati. But Woodhead was a forgotten man on Sunday, rushing five times for 11 yards and catching just three passes for 32 yards, not nearly enough touches for the Chargers’ versatile running back and quarterback Philip Rivers’ most trusted weapon.

Etc.

–CB Brandon Flowers did not play because of a knee injury. Flowers, who was listed late this week on the injury report as probable, had his knee flare up on the trip to Minnesota. His status for Week 4 is unknown.

–G Orlando Franklin limped off the field in the second quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. Franklin was scheduled to undergo an MRI upon the team’s return to southern California, although there is nothing broken in the foot.

–QB Philip Rivers went 21-of-34 passing for 246 yards and a touchdown with one interception. Rivers has now thrown at least one interception in nine consecutive games dating to last season, the longest streak in the NFL.


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