'Any Squad, Any Place,' the sequel: Chargers look to re-create road success

Cruz can't pick against Rivers vs. the Lions (0:31)

Victor Cruz likes Philip Rivers to lead the Chargers to a victory over the Lions. (0:31)

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- Hard-nosed. Resilient. Relentless. Disciplined.

Those are words Los Angeles Chargers coach Anthony Lynn uses to describe his team; they also identify the reasons Lynn believes the Chargers have been successful on the road during his tenure as the team's head coach.

The Chargers adopted the mantra "Any Squad, Any Place" in 2018, and it helped them finish 9-1 when they boarded a plane last season (seven non-Los Angeles, regular-season road games plus a trip to London and two playoff road games).

With the Bolts' first road contest of the year against the Detroit Lions in Motown coming Sunday, the Chargers are taking a similar approach this season.

At 7-1 in 2018, the Chargers tied the New Orleans Saints with the best road record in the NFL. In fact, the only Chargers' regular-season road loss was a game at the crosstown Los Angeles Rams. Since 2017 started, Lynn has compiled an 11-5 record on the road in the regular season. Only the Rams (13-3) and Pittsburgh Steelers (11-4-1) have a better record during that stretch.

Charismatic Chargers defensive end Melvin Ingram helped coin the phrase "Any Squad, Any Place" that the team adopted last season.

"We're still ASAP -- Any squad, any place," Ingram said earlier this year. "We want any smoke, and that's what we're about."

And why is that the team's motto, Melvin?

"That's just how I live my life and how I live everything," Ingram said. "I'm about whatever -- whatever obstacle gets in front of me, it's whatever with me. And that's how we all look at it. We don't care who we play or where we're playing at, we're about whatever."

The Chargers adopted that mentality with the move from San Diego to Los Angeles, one that comes from playing in a 27,000-seat soccer stadium frequently overrun by visiting fans, leaving players feeling like the visiting team in their home stadium.

It also represents the uphill climb in gaining a fan base in the ultracompetitive Los Angeles sports market.

"I just think that this is a tough football team," Lynn said. "We moved up here; that was a tough move for everyone. Being in temporary facilities and all that we went through, I think these guys approached it with the right attitude and I think it made them more resilient and made them tougher.

"When we went on the road, at least last year, it was an 'Us against the world’ mentality. That's kind of what you want. You like that from your guys. Hopefully, we can carry that over."

Another part of the Bolts' success on the road can be attributed to continuity. Lynn carried over 38 players from last season's 12-4 team.

That group created a close bond in 2018, including a week spent in Cleveland after a Week 6 road win over the Browns as they prepared for a game in London against the Tennessee Titans the next week -- a contest the Bolts escaped with a 20-19 victory.

"We grew to where we embraced it," Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers said. "There's something about going into somebody else's place, rallying together, playing well and finding a way to win. We were able to do that in different ways last year.

"Most of them were close games, but a couple of them we were able to kind of control them the whole way. I thought the one thing this past week (vs. the Indianapolis Colts) that we did a nice job of was that we didn't really have many penalties -- either team. Handling that stuff, false starts and some of those things -- not hurting ourselves and managing that, the noise, the environment and it's the first time doing it together this season."

Added Austin Ekeler: "I feel like we're super close now. We've been the same team offensively basically for the last three years. ... I feel like the chemistry is there and hasn't gone anywhere, so hopefully that's helping us out on the road."