Anthony Lynn shares a city with Sean McVay, a man whose reputation is so sterling that jokes have been made that his association with Kliff Kingsbury got the recently-fired college coach a job with the Arizona Cardinals. Even though it’s largely unfounded, that’s clout.
Los Angeles is only capable of focusing so much attention on football. The Chargers play in a soccer stadium, and they don’t seem to have many fans (yet). But L.A. can muster enthusiasm for McVay, largely because he’s worth the attention. He has been brilliant.
But so has Lynn, who took over for the Los Angeles Chargers in 2017. His first four games with the team, all losses, were a mess, dragged down largely by the general manager Tom Telesco’s decision to draft and develop kicker Younghoe Koo, whose missed kicks were the biggest reason why L.A. couldn’t win. Since that spotty streak, Lynn’s Chargers are 21-7. The offense is thriving with help from offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
Here’s a look at how the offense has evolved statistically in Lynn’s first two years. As a point of comparison, we included the Chargers’ offensive stats from 2016.
Rushing offense: 117.1 (15th)
Passing offense: 255.6 (10th)
Yards per game: 372.6 (11th)
Scoring offense: 26.8 (6th)
Rushing offense: 99.7 (24th)
Passing offense: 276.9 (1st)
Yards per game: 376.6 (4th)
Scoring offense: 22.2 (13th)
Rushing offense: 94.4 (26th)
Passing offense: 262.4 (8th)
Yards per game: 356.8 (14th)
Scoring offense: 25.6 (9th)
Yards are only important if they’re producing points, which is why Lynn’s fourth-best yardage in 2017 isn’t as impressive as his sixth-best scoring offense in 2018. In his second season of installing his system and working with Philip Rivers, Lynn has better incorporated running backs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler in the passing game. He has found ways to make tight end Antonio Gates an efficiency nightmare. Lynn also helped tight end Hunter Henry develop into one of the league’s top tight ends before his injury that derailed his 2018 season. Receiver Keenan Allen has exploded under Lynn with 2,589 yards and 12 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Mike Williams looks like a terrifying red zone threat with room to grow as a route-runner.
And then there’s Rivers, who is enjoying one of the best seasons of his career (4,308 passing yards, 32 touchdowns, 12 interceptions) at 37 years old.
Essentially, Lynn is getting the most out of his offense, and is leading arguably the best team in the AFC, even if they were caught in a logjam behind the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. Lynn has a playoff win under his belt, and has more than enough talent to win a Super Bowl.
So where’s the love?