The hamstring of James, who has racked up 100 total tackles, 12½ for loss, two interceptions and five pass breakups in the first 12 games, tightened up Friday and was too sore and swollen Saturday for the versatile safety to play. The Chargers were no worse for the wear (and tear).
The Chargers forced three-and-outs on five of New York’s seven first-half possessions and yielded only 174 total yards through three quarters before giving up a pair of touchdowns — after building a 30-point lead — in the last 4½ minutes.
They finished with a season-high 10 pass breakups, the most by a Chargers defense since 2017 and the most by an AFC team in a game this season.
Davis broke up four passes, one more than he had in the first 12 games; Harris had three pass breakups; linebacker Kyzir White, who took over play-calling duties from James, had a team-leading 10 total tackles, and linemen Joey Bosa and Justin Jones each had sacks.
Trey Marshall replaced James and teamed with fellow safety Nasir Adderley and cornerback Tevaughn Campbell to help lock down receivers Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard for much of the afternoon.
“Derwin did a heck of a job for us on the sideline coaching, and we had great opportunities for his teammates in the secondary to step up and rise to the occasion,” Staley said. “I’m proud of those guys and how they played today.”
Staley singled out Davis, a fifth-year pro who took his share of lumps early in his career, for special praise.
“Michael Davis rose to the occasion,” Staley said. “When you’re playing corner in the NFL, there’s going to be some of those deny-the-ball downs. I think what he’s doing is he’s getting more confident with his back to the ball. We’re working really hard with the guy, and like I said, he’s been a resilient player for us.”