By HCR Staff | July 30, 2018
The Los Angeles Chargers have been a fashionable playoff pick for 2018 and that’s understandable considering how strongly they finished last season. The Chargers won six of their last seven games in 2017 and finished 9-7, good for second place in the AFC West. Not bad for a team that started the year 0-4. Then-rookie head coach Anthony Lynn was taking his lumps, but HCR noticed that Lynn’s team was playing hard, and there was clearly some promise.
If you look back at some of the HCR game posts, you’ll notice that Lynn had the Chargers moving in a positive direction.
After the Chargers’ Week 3 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs, we noted a few issues Lynn was having when it comes to clock management and questionable use of challenges, but we also made the following observation in our game post:
“Chargers rookie Head Coach Anthony Lynn has his team playing hard for him, and while he still is winless, their record can and will turn around.”
After that 0-4 start, Lynn got his first win as head coach in Week 5 against the New York Giants. The Chargers then traveled to Oakland for Week 6 and came away with a 17-16 victory. The defense obviously played a major role in the win, but the offense earned high marks, especially on the game-winning drive. As noted in the game post:
“The Chargers took advantage of the Raiders playing a soft zone defense and went on a four-minute, eight-second drive that began at their own eight yard line to win the game. Philip Rivers connected on two long passes (34 and 23 yards) with tight end Hunter Henry, and five straight runs by Melvin Gordon and two kneel-downs allowed the Chargers to: (1) move the ball to the Raiders’ 14-yard line, (2) force the Raiders to use their timeouts and (3) run down the clock. This was head coach Anthony Lynn’s best coaching performance thus far.”
In Week 7, the Denver Broncos did a good job of neutralizing key Chargers’ offensive weapons Keenan Allen and Antonio Gates. We noted that Lynn countered that by successfully utilizing other personnel. With a 14-0 lead and facing a key third-and-long situation late in the game, Lynn called a pass to Travis Benjamin that not only converted but went for a game-clinching touchdown.
By Week 14, then the Chargers rolled over the Washington Redskins, it was clear that Lynn had a strong propensity for game-planning, his coordinators were effective play-callers and he had overall grasp of his role as head coach.
It’s understandable why NFL pundits are jumping on the Chargers’ bandwagon.