Anthony Lynn on going for two: “It was a no brainer”

AP

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn became a short-list favorite for coach of the year after his team turned a 28-14 deficit with five minutes left to play into the eleventh win of the season and a realistic shot at the top seed in the AFC. He did it by making the bold-but-correct decision to go for two after scoring a touchdown with four seconds left on the clock.

Why did he do it?

“We did not come here to tie,” Lynn told reporters after the game. “We came here to win. To me, it was a no brainer.”

Indeed it was. Playing for overtime (assuming that the Chargers would have converted the 33-yard field goal to force the extra session, which is hardly a no-brainer kick) would have started with the inherently arbitrary coin toss, and the 50-50 possibility that the Chiefs would have the chance to take the ball right down the field and win it with a Patrick Mahomes touchdown pass. If the Chargers had won the toss, they would have had to move the ball — again — in a loud and hostile venue.

So why not just roll the dice and force the issue with a one-play, winner-take-all opportunity from the two? A key factor: How the coach feels about whatever play he’d dial up in that spot with the players that he put on the field.

“I felt good about the personnel we had,” Lynn said. “The guys we were going to. We did not have Keenan Allen, but we had Mike [Williams] on the field, Tyrell [Williams], Antonio [Gates]. They are more than capable guys.”

Ultimately, it was more about the mindset than anything else.

“We were going to go for two the whole time at the end of that game because I believe in those guys,” Lynn said. “[W]e did not come here to tie. I want to win the game and they wanted to win the game, so that is why we did it.”

Lynn was so determined to go for two that he gave no thought to kicking.

“I told [offensive coordinator] Ken [Whisenhunt] if we get the ball and score, get your two-point play ready,” Lynn said. “We are going for it.”

They went for it, they got it, and they have jolt the entire AFC with a riveting game, a memorable outcome, and a strong reminder that L.A.’s other team will be a very tough out in January.

54 responses to “Anthony Lynn on going for two: “It was a no brainer”

  1. Good for Lynn….doesn’t get the publicity like Reid and the rest, but maybe he should.

  2. This was an Andy Reid choke job. He is a poor clock management. If his team is winning, he needs to run the ball more to kill time. No need to pad Mahomes’ stats.

  3. It was great to see that. The Eagles had a good chance to win their last game, but they chickened out, kicked the extra point and played for overtime, where they lost.

  4. If he had not converted you would be telling everyone who would listen that it was stupid to go for two.

  5. Had no idea who Lynn was until a few weeks ago. Watching how his teams are able to adjust and come back from a deficit in big games. Lynn is a hell of a football coach.

  6. Awesome job coach! Great comeback and even greater conviction going for two! Respect from a Ravens fan. See ya on the 22nd!

  7. I hope the Carolina coach and all the other lunkheads that think the decision with 4 seconds remaining and the decision with 1:04 remaining is the same decision saw this game. This decision was win or lose, unlike when Riviera went for take the lead and give the other team a minute to drive and win OR LOSE. Congrats to Chargers for taking the risk when the risk/reward scenario favored their doing so against an opponent in meltdown mode.

  8. btw, a fortunate break with td being reviewed provided for a time out to a team that had none prior to the two-pt attempt. Allowed them to get organized and not be rushed to run/execute the play. Only officiating decision that fell their way in entire fourth quarter that was heavy in bad officiating decisions. Ironic that the decision to review the LAC td actually benefited LAC.

  9. Mahomes is following the Rodgers route dudes!

    … And by that I mean he’s going to be overrated by the midia for the rest of his NFL career

  10. sammievee says:
    December 14, 2018 at 7:50 am
    btw, a fortunate break with td being reviewed provided for a time out to a team that had none prior to the two-pt attempt. Allowed them to get organized and not be rushed to run/execute the play. Only officiating decision that fell their way in entire fourth quarter that was heavy in bad officiating decisions. Ironic that the decision to review the LAC td actually benefited LAC.
    —-/
    Respectfully disagree. KC was on its heels. The break let them regroup. LA already had its 2 pt play ready. No way Kc Stops them if they ran the 2pt play right away. Turns out they still gagged it after having time to regroup

  11. No offense, Doug Pederson, but I rather take my chances with the ball in my hands from the 2 yard line (actually, you had it from the 1 after the penalty against Dallas last week) as opposed to going to overtime and hoping you win the toss, hoping your score the TD or not winning the toss and hoping you stop the other team.

    You can either negate all those hopes or take your chances from 2 yards out. Seems to me that should be the decision 100% of the time.

  12. As a Raider fan, I have to say that I’m very jealous that the Chargers have got an intelligent no-nonsense HC with the guts to take a calculated risk when it counts. Infinitely better than the inept, egotistical, power-hungry “coaching legend” that the owner stuck my team with.

  13. The reality with all of these kind of calls is if it works your are hero if it doesn’t you are a goat. So the lesson from this is make sure it works! So does this working now make it better for Ron Rivera who’s team has not won since they tried to win it at the end with a 2 pointer . I think not. You are either the goat or a hero no middle ground

  14. I didn’t see the end of the game. But, it sounds like all the momentum was going towards San Diego. 14 points in final 5 minutes. But the “right” call was to place the entire game on one play? It was the right call because they won. Florio states a 50-50 possibility Mahomes and Chiefs would win the coin toss and march down the field. But, is it really “50-50”? The coin toss is. Every time. But not the team winning the coin toss scoring a TD. First, what is the actual percentage of that happening since this new rule was enacted? It isn’t 50-50. It is 17.8% of the time. Certainly not a “no brainer”.

  15. That sound you hear, is the air being let out of the Chiefs balloon.
    —————————————————————————————-

    No, Tom doesn’t play until Sunday.

  16. To add to my last post; NFL teams are converting on 60% of 2 point conversions this year. So, the odds say the Chargers had a 40% chance of losing on that play. While going to OT, and losing the coin toss, still gives them a 82% chance of getting the ball. Getting the ball first in OT you win 55% of the time. Getting the ball second you win 45% of the time. The percentages favor going for two, but not by very much. In other words, the “no brainer”, again, was actually close to a 50-50 decision. I still say the deciding factor was that the Chargers had all the momentum. I would have kicked the xtra point. Easy to call it the “right” decision when it’s successful. The next time it is not, this decision will be dissected more.

  17. The league needs more coaches with balls of steel like this and fewer who are in constant fear of being destroyed by the fans and media when a call like this backfires(and sometimes they do). Making the “safe” call is far easy, but playing it safe also doesn’t win titles.

  18. kennylc2015 says:
    December 14, 2018 at 8:31 am
    No offense, Doug Pederson, but I rather take my chances with the ball in my hands from the 2 yard line (actually, you had it from the 1 after the penalty against Dallas last week) as opposed to going to overtime and hoping you win the toss, hoping your score the TD or not winning the toss and hoping you stop the other team.

    You can either negate all those hopes or take your chances from 2 yards out. Seems to me that should be the decision 100% of the time.
    ///////////
    That’s your gut talking, not the percentages. 100% of the time, you’ll win or lose in that situation. That’s the only certainty.

  19. You call it the “bold-but-correct decision”, yet if they hadn’t converted, you would be raking him over the coals today for a dumb decision and not “extending the game”.

  20. It’s not the right call or wrong call. It was a call that worked out.

    One thing for sure is, other than the coin toss, all these analytical decisions are based on imaginary percentages that are not specific enough to the situation and are completely based on past outcomes.

  21. I get Mahomes is a phenom, no argument there. But–if he plays casual, loose and free with the ball like that in the playoffs, he will pay for it. No doubt. No look, left handed throws, across his body to mid-field. I wonder how he will react in a big game when one of those gets turned into a pick six, and if he keeps that up, it will, mark it.

  22. I misjudged Lynn when he was hired and admitted my mistake the middle of last year. Calm, no nonsense guy who has turned out to be a pretty good head coach. Buffalo probably erred in letting him get away. The Chargers haven’t look this organized and well coached since Schottenheimer got fired, and that roster he had assembled was far superior to this. Just goes to show that good HCs often come from unconventional places like Lynn and McVey have or John Harbaugh back when he was just a former STs and secondary coach. I’m hoping somebody gives Dave Toub a shot for this reason.

  23. Titans did the same thing against the Bolts in London and failed to convert. If we don’t run the next three games, get the needed help, that one decision may very well be the reason we are out of the post season. One play, the whole season.

  24. Knowing you’re still going to make the playoffs even if you lose is like playing with money in the bank. It wasn’t really all that daring to go for two in that situation, because you’re a coin flip away from Mahomes tearing you a new one in overtime anyway. It’s two yards against a gassed defense with the mirror image of a play you knew they didn’t stop earlier in the game.

    And if you don’t make it, you’re still in the wild card driver’s seat. So…

    It was a smart move in this situation, unlike Vrabel’s folly that may have cost the Titans a playoff berth.

  25. “robbed the Chiefs of a chance to finish the game with an unforgettable moment.”

    Absolutely absurd! Had the flag fallen the chances for the Chiefs would have been .000000001% instead of .0000000000000001%

  26. Pete Carroll or Bill O’Brien possibly but not with Lynn in the mix. Hands down coach of the year, he finally has made good on the potential of Rivers’s Chargers, after more than a decade of underachievement.

    And yeah, he read the room and it was an easy choice, he saw the opportunity and snatched it. Forget the math, feel the flow. Good on him. No fan of the Chargers but I like this guy a lot now

  27. chndc says:
    December 14, 2018 at 10:50 am
    I get Mahomes is a phenom, no argument there. But–if he plays casual, loose and free with the ball like that in the playoffs, he will pay for it. No doubt. No look, left handed throws, across his body to mid-field. I wonder how he will react in a big game when one of those gets turned into a pick six, and if he keeps that up, it will, mark it.

    **************************************

    Mahomes still has a lot to learn. It’s his first year under center. This kid has obviously gotten to this point from years and years of hard work, and hours upon hours of film study since he’s become a pro. Although he appears loose and casual, I really don’t think a kid reaches this amount of success so early unless he’s really focused. In fact, we’re not even having a conversation about the Chiefs and big games if it wasn’t for all the hard work this kid is putting in. You do make some good points. It drives me nuts to see him carrying the ball with one hand. I’m sure Mahomes is his own biggest critic. The great ones usually are.

  28. They had the KC corners confused and tired. Going for two with a solid QB like Rivers and more-than-capable WRs and TEs caught Kansas City off-guard. Then again, it’s not like Andy Reid has a history of being well-prepared for those last-minute situations.

  29. The common problem with evaluating coaches is to only evaluate their decisions based on the outcome; that’s wrong. Going for 2 is the correct call in this situation, regardless of the outcome. Going for 1 give you a slightly less than 50% chance of winning when you factor in the probability of making the kick (not a gimme, especially for the chargers) and then winning in overtime (which is 50-50). Going for 2 has greater than a 50% success rate and thus greater than a 50% chance of giving you a win, so regardless of the outcome, it’s the right call. I thought so when the titans tried it against the chargers earlier this year and it failed too.

  30. joaonmatz says:
    December 14, 2018 at 8:10 am

    Mahomes is following the Rodgers route dudes!

    … And by that I mean he’s going to be overrated by the midia for the rest of his NFL career
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Here we have a story about an exciting ending to a great game between two solid contenders for the AFC Championship and all YOU can think of is a guy whose team is having a terrible year and is not even in the same conference? Yikes. I’m sure Rodgers would be flattered to know he occupies your thoughts to such a degree but I’m also pretty sure he’s not going to leave Danica Patrick for you.

  31. This game doesn’t change the worthiness of Mahomes, or Rivers, or anyone else including the two coaches. Reid was, and still is a poor clock manager. Lynn just showed he has the guts to go for a win like we wish other coaches would in the same situation.

  32. brilliant call. if they lose, they are still going to be the 5 seed in the playoffs. if they win, they have a shot at the 1 seed. so why not take the chance right then and there with all that momentum against a defense that hasn’t stopped anyone all year rather than putting the ball in the chiefs hands in OT. great call, great game.

  33. Andy Reid’s worst enemy is Andy Reid. Until that changes, I don’t see KC winning a thing.

  34. I’ve argued for this for years. You have the ball at the two and an opportunity to win the game. Why would you opt out and put the ball back in the opponents hands? Too many coaches take the extra point to tie but the game doesn’t end there and you don’t have control over whether or not you even get the ball. Unless momentum isn’t there or you have a personnel issue at the moment, injury etc, you have to take the game there. Consider this, you have a 50/50 probability of scoring on the 2pt play. If you take the extra point, you only have a 50/50 probability of getting the coin toss. You still have to go down field just to get back to where you already were. Makes no sense to not to go for it.

  35. There’s no right or wrong decision….it’s a calculated risk that can go either way. I fully support a coach’s decision go for the win rather than the tie in that situation…especially when they’ve established momentum.

    My only criticism is when coaches try to get cute or clever and it fails. In situations where it’s one play to either win or lose the game….you have your team do what they do best and force the other team to stop you.

    Win or lose…you walk away knowing you gave it your very best shot.

    If that’s too aggressive or if you don’t think your team can make it work…..then kick the PAT and play for OT.

  36. It was great to see that. The Eagles had a good chance to win their last game, but they chickened out, kicked the extra point and played for overtime, where they lost.
    —————–
    spot on. eagles coach needs to go back and study up on some analytics, which is surprising given that he is credited with inventing statistical analysis.

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