When you’re down 21-3 in the NFL, you typically lose.
Unless you’re the San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers trailed the Lions 21-3 in their home-opener this past Sunday before putting up 30 unanswered points en route to a 33-28 victory.
“I feel great,” Chargers wide receiver Stevie Johnson said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “After a win, it’s always good. Having to win like that, it’s something special about it. Being down and fighting to come back and actually win the game, it’s a very good feeling.”
Allen had six catches for 82 yards and a touchdown in his Chargers debut. He spent the first six years of his career in Buffalo and played 13 games for San Francisco last season.
Doug Gottlieb asked Johnson for his perception of the Chargers from the outside looking in.
“The way it looked, it looked like they was a team that played all the way to the end,” Johnson said. “I experienced it when I was in Buffalo, and then last year I wasn’t playing with the Niners, but watching that game – they was down even more than what it was this past weekend. They came back and they won.”
The Chargers trailed the Niners 28-7 at halftime in a Week 16 matchup last season before storming back for a 38-35 overtime win – in San Francisco.
“You can tell that this team got that fight in them,” Johnson said. “Now, what do you know? The first week we get tested, and the exact same thing (happens). Fighting until the end, that’s what happened – and we end up winning. That was my perception of them and it ended up being real.”
Johnson was impressed with Philip Rivers’ demeanor at halftime this past Sunday.
“It was as if he didn’t make any mistakes,” Johnson said. “(He said), ‘Come on, guys, keep on fighting. It’s not over yet. It’s not only the words that he said, but it was just how he said it. ‘Let’s go. Let’s play our game now.’ It’s like a feel-good feeling, so we came out in the second half not really worried abut what happened. I believe we even came back and I think we had another turnover that second half, but it really didn’t faze us. It didn’t faze us. We just kept working.”
Rivers finished 35-of-42 for 404 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions – impressive numbers – but Keenan Allen stole the show. The third-year wideout had 15 catches on 17 targets for 166 yards.
Johnson’s advice for the 23-year-old? Keep it up.
“Keep going out and earning that respect,” Johnson said. “Money and everything is going to come, fame is going to come. It’s going to be there. But when you’re going out there every day, every play and trying to gain some respect from somebody, there’s no price on that. That’s just all work and all heart. It showed with him last game with those catches.”
The Chargers play the Bengals (1-0) in Cincinnati this Sunday. The Bengals led the Raiders 33-0 through three quarters this past weekend before ultimately winning 33-13.
Johnson respects the heck out of the Bengals’ defense, but he didn’t like what Pacman Jones did to Amari Cooper, ripping the rookie’s helmet off and shoving his head against it.
What would 29-year-old Stevie Johnson do if Jones – or anyone – tried that on him?
“Shoot, I’m just going to see what the ref do first and then come at him the next play,” Johnson said. “The 29-year-old Stevie Johnson is going to go back to the huddle and he’s going to try to figure out how he can get him within the rules of the game.”
Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.