The Chargers are hoping to get more out of Keenan Allen against the Cardinals

The first pass went to Keenan Allen 17 yards and the first third down was converted by Mike Williams on a 15-yard catch.

The Chargers welcomed back their first two wide receivers last weekend against Kansas City and, if only briefly, the offense looked powerful again as they scored on four of five halftime possessions.

“Keenan and Mike do what they do for a reason, right?” center Corey Linsley said. “They make 20 million dollars or whatever [per season] because they are amazing. They are difference makers. So with them being the difference it opens up the whole offense.

Williams aggravated his high ankle sprain on his only reception, quickly ending his night against the Chiefs. He missed the last two days of practice, casting serious doubts about his availability Sunday when the Chargers play in Arizona.

Allen, who battled a hamstring problem suffered in the season opener, finished with five catches for 94 yards in a performance that coach Brandon Staley said “definitely exceeded my expectations.”

As they prepare to take on the Cardinals, the Chargers can take it as a positive that Allen has emerged in good health and plans to be full.

“Sometimes it’s just a feeling of confidence to have those two in the crush,” said offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. “I think it sort of permeates the whole mess when those guys are in there. It makes everyone feel better. … It makes a difference, for sure.

The highlight for Allen came in the final four minutes of the game when, on third-and-18, he sprinted down the right side and was on the other end of a Justin Herbert 46-yard bomb.

The situation was so desperate that Lombardi called it a “Third and Californian” comedy, a reference he brought with him from his previous job in New Orleans. “Just forever,” Lombardi explained. “Third and extra long.”

Allen’s catch helped set up a six-yard touchdown pass from Herbert to Joshua Palmer as the Chargers took a late lead that Kansas City’s Patrick Mahomes stole just a minute later in a 30-27 Chiefs victory.

Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen celebrates after a catch for a first down.

Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen (13) celebrates after a catch for a first down after a during the fourth quarter against the Kansas City Chiefs at SoFi Stadium Sunday.

(Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

“The odds are stacked against you,” Herbert said, noting the bass and distance. “But when you have a guy like Keenan, you have to give him a chance. Put the ball up there, knowing he’s going to fight for it. He’s made an amazing play on it.

In their first 29 games together this season, Herbert targeted Allen 296 times. That’s an average of 10.2 per game. Twice, Herbert targeted him 19 times, equaling Allen’s career high.

So when Allen was injured in Week 1 and didn’t get anywhere near 100% back until Week 11, it’s understandable that Herbert and the offense looked out of place for stretches.

“To have [No.] 13 out there, it just adds something special,” Herbert said after the Kansas City game. “We know what a contender he is and the fighter he is.

The Chargers will likely need more from Allen against Arizona in a game in which they are favorites, a game that carries significant weight in their quest for a postseason berth.

Lombardi spoke Thursday about the “trust factor” that exists between Herbert and Allen, explaining that their many practice reps together have forged a shared trust.

If Williams isn’t available on Sunday, that trust will become an even more important bond.

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Injury updates

Cornerback Bryce Callahan (groin) returned to practice in limited capacity after missing Wednesday. The Chargers have added cornerback Michael Davis (knee) to their injury report. He too was limited.

Punter JK Scott (quads) was restricted for the second day in a row. The Chargers settled four punters on Thursday as a precaution if Scott can’t play on Sunday.


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