Chargers coach Anthony Lynn struggled to keep up with the many game clock blunders that took place during Chargers’ loss to the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
A nervous Lynn took the podium after the game after his team had arguably the worst last minute in the NFL this season.
The disastrous final drive had a fourth-down Hail Mary, a run-play with no more timeouts, a quarterback sneak with the offensive line in pass protection, and a kicker who came up short with three seconds to go in regulation with a 10-point deficit .
Perhaps that could explain why Lynn was unsure about the other clock management situations asked about Sunday, such as a rest timeout and choosing to kick close to midfield, and the timeout he burned early in the fourth quarter to discuss the spot of the ball in fourth place.
“I’m not sure,” said a confused Lynn. “Half?”
Lynn kicked off his press conference on Monday by revisiting those questionable situations to provide better answers.
“I watched the game on the plane and watched it again this morning,” Lynn said. “I can understand better what some of those questions were.”
Lynn explained and defended why he decided to kick for halftime and used a timeout early in the fourth quarter before Michael Badgley scored a field goal to narrow the deficit to 24-17.
“There are reasons why we do what we do and sometimes you may not know it,” said Lynn. “Maybe you are critical of it or whatever, and that’s fine, that’s your job, but I’m just explaining to you a few things you asked me last night that made more sense to me after I had the tape a few times Viewed.”
Lynn didn’t defend the last-minute blunders, but he didn’t give many answers other than blaming communication problems.
“That was just embarrassing, I’ll be honest about that,” said Lynn. That was just embarrassing. It wasn’t why we lost the game, but it was embarrassing to play it out like that. ”
Lynn declined to say whether it was his decision whether offensive coordinator Shane Steichen or quarterback Justin Herbert to play the ball with Austin Ekeler after the 55-yard pass to Tyron Johnson with no timeouts. The Chargers rushed to Buffalo’s 2-yard line with 25 seconds to go in regulation and lost 17 seconds after Ekeler stopped in front of the goal-line.
Johnson signaled a spike after celebrating his capture of Hail Mary, along with many others who watched the match.
Lynn said he didn’t want to point fingers, but it sounded like it wasn’t his decision to run the ball.
“It was communication, bad communication, but at the end of the day that’s my responsibility, it falls on me,” said Lynn, “but you don’t run the ball without timeouts. You don’t take that opportunity to get the ball there “You poke the ball or do a fake peak and throw a fade or whatever. There are so many other things you could do but that was screwed up and it looked bad and I totally understand that.”
Perhaps Herbert or Steichen were trying to overwhelm the defense with a run-play and Lynn is trying to protect his rookie quarterback and play-caller by not mentioning that.
But regardless of whose calling it was, the Chargers had an embarrassing streak that infuriated many fans on social media over the late game’s latest failure.
The Chargers have lost 19 of their past 27 games and many could have been won with better situational football, something that the head coach of this week’s opponent, Bill Belichick, has performed in New England for the past 20 years.
The Chargers have not improved under Lynn when it comes to running late games, but Lynn said on Monday that he is the right person to turn this team around, despite rumors of his job security.
“It’s part of the territory,” Lynn said. “I decide 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 I am the right person for the job and this can change. But that’s not my decision. ”
Lynn protects his players and coaches by not pointing fingers after Sunday – that’s why his players always compete for him – but he may need to improve on his last five games with clock management, situational football, and single-scoring matches.
“I’m frustrated,” Lynn said. ‘I’m disappointed, but I’ll be myself, that’s all I have to do. I’ve been down before and this team has been before. We will fight back, we will regroup, we will fight again, but it’s hard to go through that much and get out on the wrong side, but this is what we signed up for and we’ll finish it. ”
Being competitive hasn’t been enough for Lynn for the past four years and time is running out for improvements.