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LA Chargers: Week 10 showed how much difference a head coach makes

MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 15: Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins and head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers speak prior to the game at Hard Rock Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FLORIDA - NOVEMBER 15: Head coach Brian Flores of the Miami Dolphins and head coach Anthony Lynn of the Los Angeles Chargers speak prior to the game at Hard Rock Stadium on November 15, 2020 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
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Week 10 was a perfect example of why the LA Chargers should move on from Anthony Lynn.

The LA Chargers lost their seventh game of the season in Week 10 against the Miami Dolphins. The Chargers’ only two wins of the season are against the 2-6-1 Cincinnati Bengals and the 1-8 Jacksonville Jaguars.

It has been bad.

The Chargers have been misfortunate with injuries but have also received elite quarterback play that was not expected. At the end of the day, this season ultimately boils down to Anthony Lynn and the coaching staff.

For weeks now, though, there was a way in which you could divert blame from the coaching staff and make a case that they were simply unlucky, not poorly coached. To play devil’s advocate, here is what we could have argued in favor of Lynn and his staff:

  • Week 2 vs. Chiefs: Herbert started on 15-minute notice, still took KC to overtime
  • Week 3 vs. Panthers: If Austin Ekeler catches that pitch they win the game
  • Week 4 vs. Buccaneers: If Joshua Kelley does not fumble the Chargers probably win
  • Week 5 vs. Saints: If Michael Badgley just makes the field goal the Chargers win
  • Week 8 vs. Broncos: Brandon Facyson‘s pass interference easily could have not been called
  • Week 9 vs. Raiders: Mike Williams and Donald Parham dropped back-to-back perfect passes for the win

It is actually really easy to divert blame from Anthony Lynn and his coaching staff if you just focused on those things that are mentioned. Unfortunately for Lynn, Week 10 cemented for anyone that was skeptical that he and his coaching staff have been extremely poor this season.

The Chargers were thoroughly outplayed by the Miami Dolphins. While the final margin was only eight, the Chargers were outplayed in every area of the game and if it was not for a fluke bad snap the team would have probably been down 21-0 and would not have been able to make it as close as they did.

It was a poor showing.

And in that poor showing, the Chargers’ coaching staff really did its best to be outcoached by the other sideline. The offensive playcalling was absolutely terrible with the team desperately looking to establish the run despite being down to their RB3 (a rookie in Joshua Kelley who is really struggling) and their RB5(?) (a glorified practice squad player in Kalen Ballage).

Without Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson and Troymaine Pope the Chargers carried the ball 25 times with their running backs. Justin Herbert, the rookie who averaged 300 yards per game heading into this one, had 19 pass attempts heading into the fourth quarter and only really got to unleash the passing attack once it was too late.

It did not stop there, though. Defensively, the LA Chargers were awful. It was not just a lack of execution, though, it was a lack of versatility. Tua Tagovailoa confirmed after the game that the Chargers threw the exact defense that the Dolphins were expecting at them. Why? Because Gus Bradley lives and dies by his zone coverage.

The same zone coverage that has been absolutely dismantled this season. The same zone coverage that has allowed 29 points or more in six consecutive games.

And then there is the special teams. Blocked punts, penalties and missed assignments. The LA Chargers have the worst special teams unit in the league and it is not particularly close.

This all stems down to the head of the ship: Anthony Lynn. And it is a shame, really, because when we look at the opposite sideline we see a head coach in Brian Flores who has gotten the absolute most out of his team and is proving that good coaching makes a tremendous difference.

The Miami Dolphins are not more talented than the LA Chargers, even with their injuries. They both have rookie quarterbacks, with Herbert having more experience. They both have banged-up running backs. They both have a solid WR1 with inconsistent options behind them (Keenan Allen being better than DeVante Parker as well). They both have suspect offensive lines.

While the Dolphins defense has been far better this season they are not far more talented. The Chargers still have one of the best defensive lines in football, albeit Joey Bosa was out, and still have a decent-enough secondary and linebacker group to not be terrible. 

It is coaching. These are two young teams with similar raw talent. One is 6-3 and is in a prime position to make a playoff run. The other is 2-7 and is looking at being in the top-seven of the draft order for the fourth time in six years.

Next. Week 10 overreactions

If the LA Chargers had Brian Flores at the helm then I feel very safe in saying that they would have a winning record at this point of the season. Week 10 proved that.

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