By Juan Lozano | September 23, 2020
In his second year (2018) as head coach, Anthony Lynn led the Chargers to the playoffs.
Late in that 2018 season, in a Thursday night road game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Lynn took a gamble when the Chargers overcame a two- score deficit.
The Chargers were down 28-27 after Philip Rivers connected with Mike Williams on a touchdown with four seconds remaining.
Rather than tie the game with a PAT, Lynn took a risk and attempted a two-point conversion.
Rivers would again find Williams, this time for the two-point conversion to take the lead, win the game and punch the Chargers ticket to the post-season.
On Sunday against those same Chiefs in Los Angeles, Lynn played it close and it might have cost the Chargers a win.
The Chargers surprisingly held the lead for most of the game. A late Chiefs rally sent the game to overtime.
The Chargers won the coin toss and took the ball. Facing fourth-and-one, on their own 34- yard-line, the Chargers elected to punt and play defense rather than attempt a conversion.
We aren’t sure why Lynn decided to go conservative here considering his previous actions against the same Chiefs- and he’s been known to take chances in other games as well. Our best guess is that he had a rookie quarterback in an emergency start or that the Chiefs had stopped the Chargers run game at the goal line late in the game.
We thought the right call here was to attempt the fourth-down conversion. The Chargers could have: (1) had Justin Herbert attempt a sneak from under center- after all he’s 6’6, (2) handed the ball off to running backs Austin Ekeler or Josh Kelley- both that are capable of getting a hard yard OR (3) attempted a play-action pass.
A successful attempt, even if the drive ended without a score, would have taken time off the clock if the Chargers were to later punt, and force the Chiefs to rush their offense, one that struggled against a stout Chargers defense for most of the day.
Lynn gave Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and that explosive Kansas City offense an opportunity to win the game. They did just that when Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker drilled a 58-yard field goal to seal the Chargers fate. We understand why Lynn punted. His defense was playing well. At HCR, we just think he gave his team a better opportunity to win the game if he attempted a fourth down conversion. Against the Chiefs, you have to coach a little different, and occasionally take a few more risks, something Lynn did back in 2018.
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