There was a lot of criticism thrown Anthony Lynn's way after the Chargers 27-17 loss on Sunday to the Buffalo Bills. There were a lot of head-scratching moments. After the game, Lynn spoke to the media and was asked about certain situations. At times, he seemed flustered by the questions.
"I'm involved in all the plays in the game, anywhere from 175 to 109 plays," Lynn explained. "So, if you ask me about one specific question, I might not have a recall that you wanted to detail that you're looking for, but after I watched the game last night on the plane and this morning. I can understand better with some of those questions were."
On Monday, Lynn started his press conference by clearing the head-scratching plays and explaining his, and his coaches thought process.
"There's a reason why we do what we do, and sometimes you might not know that, and you might be critical or whatever, and that's fine. That's your job. I'm just explaining to you some of these things you asked me last night that made more sense to me after watching the tape a couple of times," said Lynn.
Right before halftime, the Chargers started with the ball at their 20-yard line. Three plays later, they were at their 44-yard line when the Bills sacked rookie quarterback Justin Herbert. Lynn decided to take a timeout.
Out of the timeout, Herbert threw it to wide receiver Keenan Allen who picked up nine yards. Next play, Herbert hit running back Austin Ekeler, and he picked up seven yards with 21 seconds on the clock. Would Lynn put his punt team in there or go for it?
Neither. He let some of the time runoff. He called his second timeout and decided to punt it away.
"I didn't think it was worth the risk at that time," explained Lynn. "Because that kicker can kick, and if we didn't get it, that one play and they kick it, and they may get points. That is a huge momentum shift right there before the half."
It is understandable not wanting to give the opponent the ball back. There was confusion, though. The clock was running when they faced fourth and two on Buffalo's 48-yard line. Why not just let it run down and go into halftime?
Does he have any regrets about the final moment before the half?
"Only thing I regret is that the communication was off between us and Justin," Lynn explained. "He was going to run the play, and I had to call the timeout before it got down to one second. Because I would have got it down one or two seconds called timeout, and I would have thrown the Hail Mary, and we get passing interference, and you get a cheap one."
Now, fast-forward to the beginning of the fourth quarter. The Chargers offense faced third and one at the Buffalo seven-yard line. Offensive coordinator Shane Steichen decided to run an option with Herbert and rookie running back Joshua Kelley. Bills linebacker AJ Klein sniffed it out and was able to have the Bolts lose three yards.
Lynn says it looked like it would be fourth and two, so he was getting ready to go for it. The referees placed the ball four yards behind. So there was confusion between the sideline and the referees, according to Lynn.
He had to burn a timeout.
"I didn't think that was it was worth it because we needed two scores anyway," said Lynn. "I hate to use a timeout to get that done, but I didn't have a choice. I didn't want Justin snapping that ball."
They kicked the field goal and were down by seven points.
After a couple of turnovers from both squads, the Bills hit a field goal before giving the Bolts the ball back with a little over three minutes left. They got the ball to the Buffalo 37 until Herbert took another sack. That left the offense at fourth and 17.
Next play, he throws up a Hail Mary, and receiver Tyron Johnson comes up with it for a 55-yard reception. They run up, and Herbert snaps the ball and hands it off to Ekeler for a one-yard gain while the clock bleeds.
"At the end of the game, it was embarrassing, man, to be honest with you that that was just embarrassing," said Lynn. "It wasn't the reason why we lost the game. But it was embarrassing to finish the game like that, and like I said, it was communication. It was communication, poor communication but then, at the end of the day, that's my responsibility falls on me."
Herbert clocks it after the Ekeler run. On the next play, Herbert tries to quarterback sneak while his offensive line pass blocks—end of the game.
"I don't want to get into finger-pointing and all that," said Lynn. "It's just poor communication at the end of the day. It's on my plate. I got to put us through it more. Practice more, I guess."
It hasn't been the season the team hoped. The additions that they made and the draft picks they brought in a lot more was expected of this season. There is one mood in the locker room this season.
"Very frustrated, as well as everyone on this team," said Lynn. "This team prepares hard, works hard. It's just not showing in our record. We feel like we're a better team than 3-8."
Lynn has faced much backlash, not in the last two days, but in the last two seasons. It hasn't been pretty. There have been many questions about his job security.
He is 8-19 after a 12-4 playoff season. The team has regressed in different areas, but the head coach says he will continue to fight to try and save this season.
"It comes with the territory," explained Lynn. "I control what I can control, and I don't worry about that. Of course, I like my job, and I want to be here, and I believe that I'm the right guy for the job and can turn this around. But that's not my decision."