Keenan Allen overshadowed Justin Jefferson, set a franchise record for receptions and, oh yeah, threw a touchdown pass while posting the only perfect passer rating in a game that featured Justin Herbert and Kirk Cousins throwing for a combined 772 yards and six touchdowns.
"It's one of those complete performances and now a part of Chargers history," Chargers coach Brandon Staley said after his team climbed to 1-2 while dropping the Vikings to 0-3 with a 28-24 win at U.S. Bank Stadium on Sunday.
Targeted 20 times, Allen caught 18 passes to break his own team record of 16 and move into a tie for third place in NFL history behind only Denver's Brandon Marshall, who had 21 in 2009, and San Francisco's Terrell Owens, who had 20 in 2000. Allen's 215 yards were a career high and fourth-most in Chargers history.
"Keenan is a quarterback's best friend," Herbert said. "To be able to get the ball out to him quickly, for him to make plays, he makes my job so much easier."
As a passer, well, all Allen did was throw a perfect 49-yard TD strike to Mike Williams, who had 121 yards on seven catches. His first NFL completion other than a two-point conversion pass gave him a 158.3 passer rating. Perfection.
"That was atonement," Staley said. "A few years ago, we ran that play against Kansas City for an incompletion. Keenan really throws a good football. We've been working on that play. I'm excited for Keenan because it capped one of those maestro performances."
Give Chargers offensive coordinator Kellen Moore credit. He looked at how the Eagles punished the Vikings running the ball 48 times for 259 yards in Week 2 and basically said, "Nah, we're good. We'll just do what we do best."
With running back Austin Ekeler inactive, the Chargers ignored the run — 15 carries for 30 yards — while having Herbert throw 47 times, completing 40 for 405 yards and three touchdowns.
"That Vikings defense really forced him to have a commanding performance," Staley said. "I mean, with the amount of pressure that was on him today, there was a lot of the zero pop-out pressure, and it was on him. This just shows you that he is one of the special players in the league. We needed that today."
The Vikings helped with some soft coverages that left Allen way too open or being covered loosely by an overmatched extra safety. But even the times they did get up on him in tight man coverage with a cornerback, he ran a lot of what Staley and Herbert called "decision" routes that schooled the Vikings' young defenders in what it's like to face a savvy 31-year-old whose thinking is in lockstep with an elite quarterback.
"Basically, the defense gives him access one way or the other and he is going to break to where I think he is going to break," Herbert said. "We've been on the same page for some time now."
Allen said the Chargers knew exactly how to counter the multitude of pressure packages that new Vikings defensive coordinator Brian Flores threw at them. A big part of that was Allen running shorter hitch routes and trying to break tackles.
"The first time we played Flores when he was in Miami, it was tough," Allen said. "We didn't know what to do. We were kind of mind boggled out there. We didn't know who to be looking at. They kind of fooled us.
"Today, we had their number on every play. Herbo was settled down, not getting rattled. Every time he came to the sidelines, we had more and more answers for them. It was great."