Silky smooth Keenan Allen sizzles, puts rest of NFL on notice

CARSON, Calif. -- Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen wore a Versace scarf and shirt ensemble in the locker room after his team's second straight loss.

The shirt was opened up, revealing a gold alien chain, a nod to the nickname of his receiving group, and another gold chain with the Cal product's "slayer" moniker. This wasn't exactly an understated look for one of the underappreciated receivers in the league.

"What's you think?" said Allen, when asked if he gets overlooked nationally."

Allen wants others to notice that he's one of the best receivers in the game, and perhaps putting up monster numbers each week isn't enough.

Playing against the Houston Texans, who have one of the best receivers in the league in DeAndre Hopkins, Allen was the one who put on a show. Allen was targeted a game-high 17 times, finishing with 13 receptions for a career-high 183 receiving yards and two scores.

"I don't know if he can be covered by one guy," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. "And I don't say that arrogantly. You can say that about a handful of guys in this league, and he's one of them."

Allen recorded his 23rd 100-yard career performance and also became the first player in team history to record at least eight catches in the first three games of the season. Since the start of the 2017 season, Allen is No. 3 in the NFL in catches (228) and third in the league in receiving yards (2,993). Allen's 1,000 receiving yards on third down during that stretch is tops in the NFL.

For Allen, it was just another day at the office.

"I was just playing my game," Allen said. "It didn't feel like anything different. We've done that to other teams before."

The Texans regularly had trouble keeping up with Allen in coverage. Allen's shiftiness and subtle movements at the top of his routes allowed him to repeatedly create separation in Houston's secondary.

"Keenan understands and processes things very well," Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt said this week. "When he sees things on the field, he knows what they're trying to do and he can enact that physically, which is a tremendous talent. He has grown considerably."

The relaxed Allen even had time to say a quick hello to former Cleveland Cavaliers forward J.R. Smith, on hand watching the game along the sidelines.

At 1-2 and scuffling, the Chargers need to find other players to help lessen the load for Allen.

Mike Williams is another option for Rivers. He finished with three receptions for 45 yards against the Texans on seven targets while still playing with a balky knee.

"Keenan gets a lot of attention, so it's going to open up plays for me," Williams said. "I got a lot of opportunities today and made some plays, made some critical third downs. I just have to go back tomorrow, watch the film and get better."