Chargers cratering, but Mike Williams blossoming into elite WR

CARSON, Calif. -- Los Angeles Chargers receiver Mike Williams is showing he’s more than a one-trick pony.

Yes, at 6-4 and 220 pounds, the NFL knows the Clemson product can haul in jump-ball passes with the best of them.

But in a 39-10 beatdown at the hands the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, Williams showed he could run the full route tree, finishing with four receptions for 71 yards, including his second touchdown of the season.

In a disappointing year that included expectations of a deep playoff run, Williams has been one of the few bright spots for the Chargers.

Even more impressive, he has been productive while playing through a nagging right knee issue most of the season.

He leads the NFL by averaging 21 yards per reception. Entering Sunday’s game against the Vikings, Williams had five straight games with a reception for at least 40 yards. He finished with a 39-yard catch against Minnesota.

Williams has 41 receptions for 912 receiving yards on the season and should be used even more in the final two games of the season for the Chargers.

While Williams shined, the blowout loss to the Vikings was the Chargers’ worst performance of the season, dropping them to 5-9 on the year and ensuring head coach Anthony Lynn will have his first losing season as head coach of the Bolts.

Describe the game in two words: Same old Chargers. That’s three, but it aptly sums up what happened in a humbling loss to the Vikings. The Chargers turned the ball over seven times, two fumbles by running back Melvin Gordon, a fumble by tight end Hunter Henry and a fumble and three interceptions by quarterback Philip Rivers. It’s the first time since 1986 the Chargers have turned the ball over seven times in a game. The Vikings turned those miscues into 20 points. Rivers now has 21 turnovers on the season. Turnovers and missed opportunities are pretty much the story of the season for the Chargers.

Silver lining: Keenan Allen finished with eight receptions for 99 receiving yards, eclipsing the 1,000-yard receiving mark (1,046) for a third consecutive season. Only Lance Alworth (seven) has more consecutive 1,000-yard receiving seasons in franchise history.