Keenan Allen entered the 2016 season with very high hopes. Starting to solidify himself as an elite NFL receiver, as well as a player who had overcome his previous injury struggles, Allen started the season with an efficient 63 yards on 6 catches in less than two-quarters of play. However, with about two minutes remaining in the second half, Allen ruptured his ACL. This injury would sideline him for the rest of the season, striking a dagger into the Chargers playoff hopes.
As a player who has been sidelined by injuries in the past, Allen has always come back looking more polished and athletic than ever before. So for avid Chargers fans, it wasn’t a surprise to see the former rookie of the year bounce back in such a spectacular fashion. Keenan Allen went from a promising young star to an elite NFL receiver who is a focal point in opponent’s gameplan.
His ability to maneuver after the catch is unmatched. Allen’s ability to make defenders miss strikes fear into the hearts of defensive coordinators. A specific example of this was on Thursday’s win over the Cowboys. Allen turned an ordinary out-route into a 42-yard catch and run for a touchdown, in which he made four different Cowboy defenders whiff on what should be elementary tackles.
Over his last two games, Keenan Allen has 331 receiving yards, 23 receptions, and 3 touchdowns. It’s also no coincidence that over this two-game stretch, the Chargers have won decisively in both. It has been one of the best two-game stretches the NFL has ever seen. It’s clear that Allen more than deserves to be a finalist for this award.
As of Friday evening, Keenan Allen ranked third in receiving yards, fourth in receptions, and fourth in receiving yards per game. If Allen continues his impressive play, he could be an All-Pro, let alone the comeback player of the year. However, if the Chargers valiant effort to become the second team in NFL history to start the season 0-4 and make the playoffs falls short, it would be tough to give Keenan the award, despite his great play. However, if the Chargers do in fact sneak into the playoffs, Allen will be a near lock for this award. Voters will see him as the clear second best player in that offense. More importantly, he will have become one of the most impactful receivers in the league.
–Travis Baker is a Staff Writer for Full Press Coverage Sports Media and covers the Los Angeles Chargers. Follow him on Twitter @SportsFollower0.