COSTA MESA, Calif. -- While others find it familiar territory, Anthony Lynn is new to this late-game collapse trend.
The Los Angeles Chargers’ first two losses of the season are eerily familiar to the ones that preceded it in 2016 -- play winning football through the meat of the game and find an inventive way to lose at the end.
The Chargers have become adept at doing that in the past year. Since the start of last season, the Chargers are 1-10 in games decided by seven points or fewer, losing seven games during that span in which they have led in the fourth quarter.
While the results have been the same, Lynn points out that his is a new regime attempting to forge a new identity.
“We talked about that a little bit in our team meeting,” Lynn said on Monday. “Some people say, 'Same old Chargers.’ It’s not the same old Chargers. We lost a couple of close games. We have 14 games left. We’ll see. We’ll see at the end.”
Lynn said the Chargers have a plan and core philosophy, and losing two close games isn’t going to force him to veer from that path.
Part of the plan was running the football and creating balance on offense. However, through two games the Chargers are averaging just 54 rushing yards a game, second worst in the NFL.
Meanwhile, the rest of the AFC West is running the ball well. The Denver Broncos lead the league in rushing at 159 yards per game, followed by the Kansas City Chiefs (148.5 per game) at No. 2 and the Oakland Raiders (144.5 per game) at No. 5.
Chargers running back Melvin Gordon is averaging just 2.5 yards per carry.
“I’ve always been a coach who takes whatever the defense gives you,” Lynn said. “But I do believe at some point, you’re gonna have to run the football to win.
“And the running game will travel, in all types of weather. You can’t always pass the ball. We do have to get the running game better.”
Gordon has been through this before. And he rightly points out the Chargers had three possessions inside the Miami Dolphins’ 32-yard line last week but put only three points on the board.
“We just have to find a way to make it happen,” Gordon said. “We just have to make more plays. It shouldn’t come down to this. It shouldn’t come to a situation where we are saying, ‘We should be up.’
“We had some possessions where we got down there and we should have scored on offense. That would have put us in a better situation. Everyone has to be accountable and get [to] attacking. That’s just what we have to do.”