SAN DIEGO — Modesty is a quality some are born with and others acquire with maturity. A few never learn it, no matter how painful life gets.
Wayne Davis, a Charger rookie cornerback, was as immodest as ever Sunday despite the fact receivers Daryl Turner and Steve Largent worked him over for four touchdown passes in a 49-35 conquest by the Seattle Seahawks.
Davis had a close-up look as Seattle quarterback Dave Krieg completed 22 of 32 passes for 307 yards and five touchdowns. Turner caught 7 for 121 yards and four scores, while Largent made 6 catches for 99 yards and one touchdown. Running back Curt Warner, fully recovered from last year's knee injury, kicked in with 169 yards rushing on 28 carries.
Equally as brilliant as Krieg's performance was that of San Diego quarterback Dan Fouts, who hit 29 of 43 for 440 yards and four touchdowns. Wes Chandler caught 13 for 243 yards on a day replete with remarkable offensive efforts, including Lionel (Little Train) James, who rushed for 41 yards, caught 6 throws for 96 yards, and returned kickoffs and punts for 153 more.
In the end, though, it was the undaunted, unbowed attitude of Davis that seemed to say the most about this unusual afternoon which saw 54,420 fans at San Diego Jack Murphy Stadium.
"I've been initiated, but this will never happen to me again," Davis told a group of writers who had come to his locker suspecting there might be a touch of humility in his manner. No, Davis said, his confidence wasn't shaken at all.
"I hate to make bad plays," he said. "Today, I disappointed my teammates, because everyone believed in me so much. But it's going to make me a greater player."
Give him points for consistency. Minutes earlier, as he walked off the field, Davis sought out Turner, who had burned him for three scores, and thanked him for the experience. That's correct--thanked him.
"I'm not sure exactly what he meant," the Seattle receiver said, "but he told me I had made him one of the greatest cornerbacks in pro football. And I think he is going to be. He held his ground and matured a lot today."
Older heads among the Chargers are withholding judgment. "The test is next week," safety Gill Byrd said.
"They gave Wayne a heck of a lesson," defensive backfield coach Jim Wagstaff said. "They went after him and just burned his butt. I doubt if he believes it yet."
Ron Nay, the Chargers' head scout, had some advice. "Some of our young defensive players have to learn to stop talking and let their deeds do the talking," he said.
The Seahawks rallied from a 29-21 deficit and scored 28 straight points after Fouts passed them dizzy in the first half.
Fouts enjoyed the best half of his career with 21 completions out of 30 attempts for 306 yards and three touchdowns.
His previous best was a 253-yard half against the New York Giants five years ago.
"We had to come up with something to keep up with the Chargers," Krieg said. "When Fouts is on, he's hard to stop. I'm just glad I had a great seat to see it all."
The Chargers grabbed a 7-0 first quarter lead with their most effective series of the young season. Until that point in time, anyway.
Fouts required only four passes to negotiate 64 yards. A 19-yard connection with James took the Chargers to the 7-yard line, and one more pitch to James got the score.
The Chargers moved ahead, 10-0, as Bob Thomas kicked a 21-yard field goal, his first as a Charger and 12th straight going back to last year. He was signed last week to replace Rolf Benirschke, placed on injured reserve with a pulled groin. He later missed three extra point attempts.
The Seahawks quickly got back into the game on a 34-yard scoring pass from Krieg to Turner.
After a short punt by Ralf Mojsiejenko, the Seahawks took over at the San Diego 31, and Warner needed just three plays to get the go-ahead touchdown.
The Chargers reclaimed the lead late in the second quarter on an 18-yard scoring pass from Fouts to Charlie Joiner.
The Chargers, who scored only 14 points in last week's season-opener at Buffalo, finished the first half with a 23-14 advantage.
Fouts put together a four-play, 80-yard drive built around a 17-yard run by James and a 29-yard pass to Eric Sievers. A 20-yard throw to Chandler, who ended the half with eight catches, closed out the scoring before halftime.
Seattle Coach Chuck Knox had some doubts at the intermission.
"We feel fortunate we were able to come back and win it," he said. "It gave us a big lift to score early in the second half, force some turnovers and make something happen.
"We dogged Fouts more and generally put on more pressure. You never have enough points when you play Dan Fouts."
Thanks to Krieg, Turner and the Seahawk defense, the scoring continued at a frantic pace in the third quarter.
Krieg delivered scoring passes to Largent and Turner, sandwiched around a Fouts TD throw to Sievers, to bring Seattle within a point, 29-28, midway through the period.