Chargers' Anthony Lynn on facing Patriots: It's about us

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COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Los Angeles Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn offered a familiar refrain when he was asked about the daunting task of facing the New England Patriots on the road in the playoffs.

"This week is about us and our preparation and how we get ready, because they do not beat themselves," Lynn said. "We can't beat ourselves. It's going to come down to execution and execution only."

What about playing in the freezing-cold temperatures predicted in New England on Sunday?

"They have to play in it, too," Lynn said.

And what about facing the best head coach ever to walk the sidelines in the NFL in Bill Belichick, with perhaps the greatest quarterback of all time in Tom Brady leading the offense?

"They're very good at finding your weaknesses and exploiting that," Lynn said. "They're one of the best I've ever been around in doing that. I respect that a lot.

"We've got to be able to make those adjustments and keep up. Not only keep up, but get ahead."

Lynn is very familiar with how the Patriots operate, having coached against them twice a year in the AFC East as a running backs coach with the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills for eight seasons before taking over as head coach of the Chargers two years ago.

He got his first crack at the Patriots as a head coach in 2017, losing 21-13 in New England on Oct. 29.


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In that loss, the Chargers did not play a clean game.

Travis Benjamin ran backward on a punt return and was tackled for a safety. After an offside penalty, the Chargers gave up a 71-yard kick return by Dion Lewis. Nick Novak had a 51-yard field goal attempt partially blocked by Lawrence Guy.

The Bolts also had two touchdowns called back due to penalties.

"We definitely can't make mistakes," Lynn said. "That team does not beat themselves, and I respect that about their organization. That's been taught, that's been trained -- that's a skill, an advantage they've had for a long time. So we focus on ourselves."

One of the things that gives the Chargers confidence that they can win at New England is the fact that the team is 9-0 when they board a plane this season.

"We know how great of a team they are," running back Melvin Gordon said. "The Patriots in the regular season and the Patriots in the postseason are two different pictures. They're locked in, but we're a different Chargers team as well in the postseason.

"So it will be an exciting matchup. To be the best, you have to beat the best."

Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said one thing that should help his team this week is that they have the exact same schedule as last week, when they traveled east to face the Baltimore Ravens in an early game time slot on a Sunday.

Rivers also said team chemistry and confidence started to develop in the first half of the season, when the Chargers were away from the team facility on a 10-day road trip to Cleveland and London to face the Tennessee Titans.

"It was neat watching them from afar because you could see them going to dinner together, hanging out together," Rivers said. "They definitely got to know each other a little bit better. When you can do that, I just think it builds that level of commitment and trust in our football team, and I see it in the players."