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Chargers

Thomas Davis blames defense for Chargers’ woes: ‘Offense has put up enough points’

The Chargers’ Denzel Perryman (52) pursues Chiefs running back LeSean McCoy during their game in Mexico City.
The Chargers have allowed only three 100-yard rushers this season, but they’ve struggled to keep up offensively with teams.
(Manuel Velasquez / Getty Images)

The Chargers have allowed only three 100-yard rushers, two 300-yard passers and a single 100-yard receiver.

They’ve given up the fourth-fewest passing yards and fifth-fewest total yards in the NFL.

Only two teams have not permitted the opposition to reach 30 points in a game in 2019: the Chargers and the San Francisco 49ers — the 10-1 San Francisco 49ers.

Still, the Chargers are 4-7, and veteran linebacker Thomas Davis insisted the defense — despite certain evidence — has been lacking.

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“Our record says we haven’t played well enough,” he said. “That’s the ultimate thing that determines how we’ve played as a defense. The offense has put up enough points for us to be more successful.

“We just haven’t figured it out for four quarters. We’ve played extremely well at times, and other times we’ve been inconsistent. If we do a better job in certain situations, our record could be much, much better.”

In their most recent game — a 24-17 loss to Kansas City in Mexico City — the Chargers limited Patrick Mahomes, the league’s reigning MVP, to one of the least productive starts of his young career. The normally explosive Chiefs produced only three plays that netted more than 20 yards. The Chargers’ offense had five such plays.

But Mahomes did scramble for gains of 24, 20 and 15 yards, each of which converted a third down into a first.

The Chargers’ Derwin James expects to play after recovering from a foot injury. Fellow safety Adrian Phillips also appears ready to return.

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“I do think we’ve grown a lot as the season has gone on,” Davis said. “We’ve had a ton of injuries at key positions too, and I feel like we’ve still done a pretty good job. But we’re 4-7. Everyone could be better.”

Even sitting three games below .500, the Chargers defensively have received Pro Bowl-type stretches from ends Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram as well as cornerback Casey Hayward.

Davis, in his first season with the Chargers, leads the team with 90 tackles, 40 more than Bosa, who’s second.

Then there’s free safety Rayshawn Jenkins, a player who continues to receive glowing reviews from teammates who’ve watched him emerge in his first full season as a starter.

“I think he’s playing like a Pro Bowl, All-Pro type,” Hayward said. “He’s not getting a lot of credit. But I think he definitely deserves credit. He’s got three interceptions. He’s impacting the run game. He’s coming to smack people each and every game.”

Hayward, while noting that Jenkins isn’t yet at the level of Carolina veteran Eric Reid, compared the two favorably.

Chargers strong safety Rayshawn Jenkins intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson.
Chargers strong safety Rayshawn Jenkins intercepts a pass intended for Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Demarcus Robinson in Mexico City on Nov. 18.
(Eduardo Verdugo / Associated Press)

He said Jenkins’ biggest shortfall league-wide is that no one knows who he is yet, given that Jenkins started only one regular-season game before this season.

Hayward said one of his former coaches — a coach who, he added, is still in the NFL — texted him recently, asking: “Who’s No. 23 for ya’ll?” The coach then gushed about Jenkins’ performance.

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“This is his breakout year,” Davis said. “This is his introduction to the NFL right now. He’s letting everyone know what he’s all about and what he’s coming to do. That’s how much he’s balling.

“He’s saved us in a bunch of situations from an eraser-tackler standpoint. He’s doing a great job when the ball is in the air. If you ask me, he’s had an All-Pro season.”

Hayward is a two-time Pro Bowl selection who this week said he would compare his showing over the last four seasons to that of any cornerback in the NFL. He has allowed only one catch over the past four games and recently has received a social media push for consideration for making a third Pro Bowl.

Los Angeles Chargers cornerback Michael Davis has been suspended two games without pay for violating the NFL’s policy on substances of abuse.

“I just continue to try to play at the level I’ve been playing at,” Hayward said. “Hopefully people recognize that and when the votes come around I can be in that same boat. I think I’ve been playing at that level.

“But I expect when I’m playing good that the team should be playing well. So there definitely are some things I can do better these next five weeks and try to get this defense to another level.”

Keenan Allen vs. Chris Harris

Considering the standings, the game Sunday between the Chargers and 3-8 Denver Broncos has lost much of its edge.

But there’s still the pairing of Keenan Allen and Chris Harris to consider. After Allen had only four catches for 18 yards against the Broncos in a Week 5 loss, he took to social media to criticize the motion that Harris had shut him down.

“Now, y’all know damn well that boy can’t hold my jock strap,” Allen wrote. “Stop it.”

Harris was asked by reporters in Denver about the upcoming rematch.

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“It’s always different when we play the Chargers,” he said. “It’s a rival game. Of course, he was talking a lot of mash last game, so everybody is going to be tuning in on our matchup, but it’s about the team. We’ve got to go out there and prepare as a team, have a great preparation this week and get ready for [Chargers quarterback Philip] Rivers.”

Etc.

The Chargers released wide receiver Dontrelle Inman off injured reserve. He is now a free agent. ... With Michael Davis about to serve a two-game suspension for a substance abuse violation in the offseason, cornerback Tevaughn Campbell has been added to the active roster. ... The Chargers signed linebacker Malik Jefferson and cornerback KeiVarae Russell to their practice squad.


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