Anthony Lynn speaks out on decision to punt ball back to Patrick Mahomes, Chiefs in OT
The Los Angeles Chargers got the ball to start overtime, providing a golden opportunity to defeat — or at least put pressure on — the defending Super Bowl champions.
L.A. failed to pick up a first down after receiving the kick-off, prompting a 4th-and-1 on L.A.’s own 34-yard line. Going for it is risky in that territory, but a conversion would have kept open the possibility for L.A. to score a touchdown and escape with a win without Patrick Mahomes II ever touching the ball in the extra period.
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn opted to punt, giving the ball back to Kansas City at the Chiefs’ 21-yard line. Mahomes promptly went to work, driving his offense to the Chargers’ 35-yard line, before a false start pushed Harrison Butker’s game-winning field goal attempt to 58 yards. Butker sank the kick, giving the Chiefs a 23-20 win.
After the game, Lynn was asked about his decision to punt the ball back to the best offense in football.
“I considered going for it,” Lynn told the Los Angeles Times. “It was a little bit more than one. We need to get a stop on defense. … I went for it a couple other times in the game. But, at that point in time, I thought I’d give us a chance to extend the game. It didn’t work out.”
On ESPN’s Get Up on Monday, Rex Ryan said he spoke with Lynn, his friend and coaching protege, on Sunday night about the tough call. According to Ryan, Lynn cited his belief that his defense is one of the best in the league, plus the fact that the Chargers had three offensive linemen out. Lynn’s defense did force the Chiefs into a fourth and short on the following drive and ultimately forced Butker to make a difficult kick.
In general, Lynn does not shy away from going for it on fourth down. L.A. went for it twice in regulation — converting one — and Lynn was 0-for-2 on fourth down conversion attempts in L.A.’s Week 1 win over the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Chargers were also playing with a rookie QB, Justin Herbert, in his first career NFL game. Herbert didn’t show any signs of nerves, though, throwing for 311 yards on 22-for-33 passing, plus two touchdowns (one rushing) and an interception in his debut.