There was no doubt in Head Coach Anthony Lynn’s mind.
Down seven with 2:37 remaining, Lynn knew if Philip Rivers guided the offense into the end zone, they were going for two.
“We did not come here to tie,” he said. “We came here to win. To me, it was a no brainer.… I told (Offensive Coordinator) Ken (Whisenhunt) if we get the ball and score, get your two-point play ready. We are going for it.”
That, ladies and gentlemen, is exactly why the entire Chargers locker room loves and respects Anthony Lynn.
The Bolts pulled out a thrilling 29-28 win thanks to Lynn’s gutsy call, as Philip Rivers found a wide-open Mike Williams to take the lead with four seconds left.
“I love the fact that Coach Lynn went for two,” said Isaac Rochell, who played a key role in the comeback with a half a sack on the Chiefs’ final offensive possession. “I think that says a lot about his coaching style and the confidence he has in us as a team.”
“I thought that was the best choice,” added Antonio Gates. “On the road in this kind of environment.… It just was a good call. Momentum was going our way, our favor. Just to try to put it into overtime on the road, I just wanted to come here and steal a win against a very good team.”
What impressed Rivers most was the conviction Lynn had.
“I was going to the sideline to go into overtime. And Coach Lynn said, ‘Let’s go win it right now. Let’s go for two, let’s go win it right now.’ And when he said that, there was so much conviction from him, it was ‘Yeah! Let’s go win it right now.’ He immediately turned around and said, ‘Let’s go win it.’ And if we didn’t win it, we didn’t win it, but I think his conviction wasn’t like, ‘Ehhh, should we?’ It wasn’t. It was, ‘No, let’s go win the game.’”
Even though the team loved the decision, that doesn’t mean it was easy to watch it unfold.
“I was nervous,” Joey Bosa admitted. “I mean, I wasn’t even that excited for the touchdown because I was so nervous for the two-point conversion. You obviously had seen what happened with Tennessee (when we stopped them for the win). Kind of got that same weird feeling, but when it happened, everybody was just saying, ‘Throw it! Throw it!’ I didn’t even see the wide-open receiver. The camera pans over and it was just very exciting. After such a great win in Pittsburgh, to come here and be able to do this, and on a Thursday even after such a quick turnaround, it shows that we’re the real deal.”
Still, just because there was no doubt in Lynn’s mind to go for it doesn’t mean there wasn’t some debate amongst players on whether the team actually would in the minutes leading up to it.
“On the sideline, I was like, 'Trav (Travis Benjamin), we need to go for two,’” Mike Williams said. “Trav was like, 'Nah, this is a divisional game, we need to tie.' I was like, 'Nah, we need to go for two and win it!...’ It was before we even got on the field (for the final drive). I said, 'Bro, we're going to go out here and score, we need to go and score. We would go for two and that would happen.'”
It didn’t take long though for Benjamin to become a believer.
“We scored the touchdown, and he believed we could get a two-point conversion,” Williams added. “And we (would) get it.”
While ecstatic to be in the postseason, the Chargers know they have larger aspirations in their sights.
Still, they believe they sent a message to the rest of the NFL that they are more than capable of accomplishing those goals.
“We’re here!” Derwin James said. “We’re here. We’re a team. This isn’t the same old Chargers. We’re here to compete with anybody in this league, and we showed it tonight.”