It would be overly-dramatic to suggest that an entire season can come down to one play. It would be even more so if you suggested that an entire fate of a franchise came down to one play. Yet, that many just be what happened for the L.A. Chargers on Thursday Night Football.
Anthony Lynn‘s decision to go for two rather than elect to kick the PAT to force overtime in the Chargers’ pivotal matchup with the Chiefs entire teams’ season, if not their long-term future.
But let’s focus on the L.A. Chargers immediate future. As it stands, the Chargers are challenging the Chiefs for supremacy in the AFC West, both teams stand at 11-3. Both teams also hold the two front runners for regular season MVP. You could make the argument that Philip Rivers is the NFL‘s most tortured soul. The gunslinger has had his fair share of heartbreak, but he switched roles against the Chiefs and was the predator rather than the prey.
After falling behind 28-14 with five minutes to go in the fourth in Arrowhead, Philip Rivers reminded us all of his undeniable quality. Rivers threw for 313 yards along with two crucial touchdowns as well as the two-point conversion to win the game. Rivers has now orchestrated an astounding 26 4th Quarter come backs and 30 game-winning drives. A dominating Rivers playoff run is long overdue, but something tells me we won’t have to wait that long.
With Melvin Gordon out and Keenan Allen in limited capacity, it was up to other members of the Chargers offence to step up – and that they did. Mike Williams had a break out game with 76 yards receiving and two touchdowns coupled with another along the ground. The first-round talent is finally starting to produce after a missing rookie season on IR.
Football is played in three phases and its not only the Chargers offence that deserves the plaudits. The Bolts defence limited the electric Patrick Mahomes to only 243 yards, although the starlet did rack off a couple highlight plays, including throwing a touchdown whilst being tackled, the Chargers D played a solid game. They kept the Chiefs offence under 300 yards, the only team to do so this season.
If there could be a barometer to measure whether a team in a true Superbowl contender or not – it would be a trip to Arrowhead in mid-December. The Chargers showed grit, determination and bravery to beat the Chiefs, qualities not associated with past Chargers teams. The Chargers had not beaten the Chiefs in their last nine meetings. With Anthony Lynn’s two-point play to win the game, the Chargers exorcised old ghosts and in the immortal words of Steve Young “got the monkey off their back”.
The Chargers are currently up for a tie-breaker on top of the AFC West and if they can top the division over Mahomes’ high-flying Chiefs it would be a huge statement. Rivers is ready for the playoffs, it feels like a new chapter in Chargers history. Lynn and the team would do well not to waste it.