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Anthony Lynn: Don’t blame Chargers’ second-half woes on ‘relaxed’ players

Los Angeles Chargers line up during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets.
Chargers players line up during the second half of their 34-28 win over the New York Jets at SoFi Stadium on Sunday.
(Jae C. Hong / Associated Press)

Despite his team’s inability to close games and hold leads, Chargers coach Anthony Lynn continued to insist Sunday that his players are not letting up.

Instead, as he has done repeatedly this season, Lynn credited the opposition, in this latest case, the New York Jets.

“I don’t think guys relaxed at all. They made plays,” he explained of the Jets after the Chargers’ 34-28 win.

New York gained only 82 yards in the first half as the Chargers built a 24-6 advantage. Joe Flacco completed just three passes for 30 yards in the first two quarters.

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Then the Jets torched the Chargers, scoring touchdowns on three consecutive possessions to open the second half.

Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert threw three touchdown passes in a 34-28 victory over the winless Jets, earning him a place in NFL history, but the team’s late-game issues showed up again.

New York had drives of 74, 75 and 75 yards as the Chargers’ defense fell apart in a parade of penalties and blown assignments. Veteran cornerback Casey Hayward was openly picked on by the Jets during one stretch.

“They got behind us and they made plays,” Lynn said. “We had a lot of 50/50 balls and they won most of those. … We have to be better in those situations.”

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The Chargers have surrendered at least 28 points in seven consecutive games. It hasn’t been entirely the defense’s fault. Special teams also has become a weekly misadventure.

Rookie running back Josh Kelley failed to impede New York defensive end Henry Anderson on Sunday, leading to a first-quarter blocked punt. The Jets converted that miscue into a touchdown.

“It’s not fair to put the defense on those situations,” Lynn said. “But I do expect the defense to step up and protect the end zone. But that’s completely unacceptable.”


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