Anthony Lynn avoided the inevitable question on why he used a punter as a kicker in the Los Angeles Chargers loss to the Detroit Lions, but the head coach wasn't afraid to bring up the kicking situation. Chargers kicker Mike Badgley was ruled questionable with a groin injury, but Los Angeles did not have an insurance plan (signing a kicker) in case Badgley couldn't kick. Instead, the Chargers used punter Ty Long to kick extra points and field goals, which cost them in the 13-10 loss.
Los Angeles missed a 39-yard field goal attempt in the third quarter and a 41-yard attempt in the fourth quarter that would have put the Chargers up 13-6 on the Lions on both occasions. Making one of those kicks would have forced overtime. Converting both would have won Los Angeles the game.
"Detroit is a good football team, but they damn sure didn't need our help," Lynn said to reporters after the game. "We made way to many mistakes to beat anybody. Too many mistakes to win in this league...we have to make our damn kicks."
Lynn also said the offense can't fumble on the one-yard line, which Austin Ekeler did in the third quarter trying to score a touchdown. The Chargers had 424 yards of offense, but Ekeler's fumble and Philip Rivers's end zone interception with 1:03 left cost the Chargers an opportunity to go 2-0.
Rivers intended to find Keenan Allen in the left corner of the endzone, but forced the pass in the direction of Darius Slay, who came down with the interception with the Chargers down 13-10. The Chargers were facing a 3rd-and-19 at the Lions 28-yard line, which meant Long would have been set up to kick a 45-yard field goal for the tie.
Rivers admitted Long's kicks didn't factor into the decision to force a pass into the end zone.
"I certainly didn't think interception or I wouldn't have thrown it," Rivers said. "I didn't feel I was being careless or obviously I wouldn't have thrown it. I didn't throw it in a desperation mindset, although it may have looked that way. I wish we would have one more kick at it to see if we could tie it up."