The Chargers improved to 6-6 with a 19-10 defeat of the Cleveland Browns on Sunday at StubHub Center.
Here’s what we learned:
1. The Chargers aren’t there yet
After getting to .500 for the first time this season, the Chargers could finally claim that they’ve undone the damage from an 0-4 start. They’ve evened their record and, as an added bonus, they’ve worked themselves into a three-way tie for first place in the AFC West.
It was cause for celebration — if the Chargers believed any of it was a real accomplishment.
Joe Barksdale met the news with a yawn. Philip Rivers said that any excitement needed to be calmed down.
The leadership mechanisms within the Chargers, the same group that had the team pumped up after the 0-4 start, now must keep them focused over the next four weeks.
None of the teams left on the schedule currently have a winning record, but Chargers players know it’s not going to be easy.
Barksdale said none of what’s been accomplished so far matters if the Chargers lose next week. And when it comes to winning the AFC West, he’s 100% right.
2. Kennan Allen isn’t slowing down
It was fun seeing the Browns’ Josh Gordon in action for the first time since 2014, gliding around the field and using size, strength and speed to get open.
But it was even more fun to see Keenan Allen continue to dominate, setting a record with his third consecutive game with at least 10 catches, 100 yards receiving and a touchdown. Allen is totally locked in with Rivers right now.
Rivers said he thinks Allen is all the way back from a knee injury that cost him almost all of 2016, and the numbers, especially over the last three games, make it seem like Allen might be better than ever.
The Chargers’ recent success on offense — they’ve punted two times in the last eight quarters — can be tracked, in part, to Allen’s ability to get open on low-risk routes that give him room to make plays in space.
Though the pace probably can’t be kept up, his dominant play has the Chargers surging.
3. Some other stuff
In no particular order, here are a few other things we learned Sunday: The team’s kicking situation is still up in the air after Travis Coons missed his first attempt; their pass rush isn’t infallible but if you allow the Chargers to get a lead, eventually the group will make a play; the team’s all-blue “color rush” uniforms look better in person; and suddenly the Chargers seem like the favorite to win the AFC West.