How Thomas Davis helped Hunter Henry score a touchdown in Chargers’ win

Chargers tight end Hunter Henry catches a touchdown pass during the second quarter.
Chargers tight end Hunter Henry catches a touchdown pass during the second quarter of a 45-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
(James Gilbert / Getty Images)

Linebacker Thomas Davis has been around the NFL so long that his experience is even helping the Chargers on offense.

A 30-yard touchdown pass from Philip Rivers to an uncovered Hunter Henry on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars was the result of a suggestion the 15-year veteran gave coach Anthony Lynn in advance of the game.

“He told me from a defensive perspective how he would view that play and what we could do differently to make that play work,” Lynn said. “I thought about it, thought, ‘You know, sometimes we don’t give defensive players enough credit.’ ”


So the Chargers tweaked the play in practice in part by motioning offensive lineman Ryan Groy from the left side of the line to the right.

From his spot at tight end, Henry started on the right side and ran across the formation to the left and no Jacksonville defender picked him up.

When he caught the pass, the closest Jaguar was nearly 10 yards away. Henry wasn’t hit until he was at the goal line and about to score.

“He’s been around for so long that he can pick up on things, especially tendencies,” Henry said of Davis. “He helps all of us out. If we raise up or do something different on pass or run, he always can spot little tendencies to help you out.”

Davis is in first season with the Chargers after spending 14 seasons with the Carolina Panthers. He leads the team with 102 tackles, his sixth season topping the century mark.

Given his experience, Davis often has been likened to being a coach on the field. On Sunday, the Chargers beat Jacksonville 45-10 thanks at least in part to Davis serving as an unofficial offensive assistant.


“As soon as we ran that play in the game, he was in my ear [bragging],” Lynn said, laughing. “I told him, ‘Get away from me.’

Chargers linebacker Thomas Davis speaks to reporters before a game against the Oakland Raiders.
Chargers linebacker Thomas Davis speaks to reporters before a game against the Oakland Raiders on Nov. 7.
(Ezra Shaw / Getty Images)

“But he was right, and we listened to him. I love it when veteran players give us that type of feedback because they’re connected to the game. Sometimes, what they see on the field and what we see are completely different.”

Jerry Tillery sits out

Lynn said he spoke with first-round pick Jerry Tillery before declaring the defensive tackle inactive Sunday.

Tillery had appeared in each of the previous 12 games, including three starts. He has 12 tackles and 1½ sacks.

But against the Jaguars and running back Leonard Fournette, Lynn said he decided to go with veteran Sylvester Williams because Williams is 30 pounds heavier than Tillery and more equipped to stuff the ground game.


“I did explain to him why,” Lynn said. “He understood. He didn’t like it, but he understood.”

The coach reiterated that he’s pleased with the development of Tillery, who was selected 28th overall in April from Notre Dame.

But it is at least somewhat telling that Tillery was inactive for the first time in Week 14.

Asked if such a benching might inspire a young player, Lynn said, “It could. If you’re making plays where I can’t take you off the field, I mean, that’s nice.”

Chargers fullback Derek Watt does a dog impression for his celebration after scoring his first NFL touchdown in a 45-10 rout of the Jaguars.

Dec. 8, 2019

Getting some playing time

Of the Chargers’ seven draft selections in 2019, only linebackers Drue Tranquill and Emeke Egbule were on the active roster Sunday.

Tillery, Trey Pipkins (third round) and Easton Stick (fifth) were inactive, Nasir Adderley (second) is on injured reserve and Cortez Broughton (seventh) is on the nonfootball illness list.


Egbule, selected in the sixth round from Houston, played 15 snaps on special teams against Jacksonville.

Tranquill started and starred on defense, finishing with a team-high eight tackles.

“I thought last night he played one of his best games,” Lynn said. “He set the tone from the very first snap.”

Tranquill’s production early this season came on special teams. But he has emerged as a regular contributor on defense.

His role entering Sunday expanded because Denzel Perryman did not dress for the game after being sent home by Lynn for unspecified reasons.

Behind an offensive barrage led by Philip Rivers and Austin Ekeler, the Chargers had little difficulty dominating in a 45-10 win over the Jaguars.

Dec. 8, 2019

Tranquill had five tackles on the opening drive as the Jaguars drove 67 yards in 14 plays before the Chargers defense tightened and forced a field goal.

“I was making some plays, so I was excited, but we were trying to get off the field,” Tranquill said. “I was huffing and puffing a little bit by the end of the drive. Would have liked a three and out there, or a four or five and out.”


Mike Williams’ explanation

After a 44-yard touchdown reception Sunday, Mike Williams was penalized for unsportsmanlike conduct for dunking the ball over the crossbar.

Williams said he was unaware that league rules prohibit players from celebrating in such a manner.

Lynn, however, questioned the receiver’s claim.

“That’s something we’ve talked about a lot,” Lynn said. “We can’t use anything as a prop in celebrating in the end zone. We’ve had those meetings. So I’m really not buying that one.”

Michael Davis is back

With starting cornerback Michael Davis back after a two-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy, the Chargers waived Tevaughn Campbell. ... Lynn said Perryman and rookie safety Roderic Teamer, who also was sent home from Jacksonville, would face no further discipline.