Chargers coach Anthony Lynn made the surprising decision to put the ball in Patrick Mahomes‘ hands in overtime on Sunday. It didn’t work out.
With the Chargers facing fourth-and-1 in overtime, Lynn chose to punt. Mahomes drove the Chiefs into field goal range and Kansas City’s Harrison Butker booted the game winner. Lynn explained his thought process after the game.
“I considered going for it,” Lynn said, via 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.”
It’s easy to see why Lynn thought there was a risk of going for it: The Chargers were on their own 34-yard line, which means if they had been stopped there, the Chiefs already would have been in field goal range without needing to gain a single yard to kick the game-winner.
But while Lynn’s call might have been the right call against a league-average opponent, that’s not who the Chargers were facing. They were facing Mahomes, the best quarterback in the NFL, needing only to get into range for Butker, one of the league’s best kickers. Lynn’s best bet was to trust his offense to score a game-winning touchdown without Mahomes ever getting on the field. Instead, Lynn punted the ball to Mahomes, and paid for it.