TE Antonio Gates - Free Agent
|6-4, 260||Born: 6-18-1980||College: Kent State||Drafted: ---|
2018 Week 1 vs KC (3 / 2 / 16 / 0 rec)
Gates didn't see the field until the middle of the first quarter. His first catch wasn't even an official reception, as he snagged a two point conversion in the second half to pull the Chargers closer. His first official catch didn't come until there were about eight minutes left in the game, and the second one came right after it. His involvement was minimal after not taking part in any preseason action, but he should see more work in the coming weeks.
2018 Week 2 vs BUF (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Gates was used sparingly, and only had one chance at an impact play. He was targeted on a third down pass play near the goal line, but Philip Rivers sailed the pass too far over his head for an incompletion, and the coverage was solid anyway. Gates had earlier lined up split out wide on a goal line situation, but Rivers opted to pass to Melvin Gordon instead, who converted for the touchdown.
2018 Week 3 vs LAR (5 / 3 / 45 / 0 rec)
The big tight end had his best game of the season, and was the clear go-to guy at the tight end spot ahead of Virgil Green. He got open near the sideline on a long first half reception that went for 27 yards. He withstood a big hit from the defender and shook it off as if it was a minor nuisance, before rumbling downfield after the catch to turn a decent gain into a big pickup. He showed excellent hands in the second half by snagging a low throw from Rivers over the middle, shielding the defender with his body and then working up the field for a 14-yard gain. And again he showed nice hands on a third down pass play from Rivers where he was hit in stride. He was targeted in the end zone, but the pass was thrown too high over his head to make a play on it. Gates won't return to his glory days anytime soon, but he showed in this game that he can still be a factor at times.
2018 Week 5 vs OAK (2 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec)
Gates had just two grabs in the game, one of which went for 16 yards to convert a key third down and long play. He also drew a penalty late in the game when he was seen mixing it up with an Oakland defender at the end of a play.
2018 Week 6 vs CLE (2 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
Gates had just one short reception in the game early in the contest, as the Chargers opted to use the run game for the majority of the afternoon. In fact, Gates saw just two total targets in the game.
2018 Week 7 vs TEN (3 / 2 / 11 / 0 rec)
Gates was the target of an end zone fade pass early on, but he and Rivers weren't on the same page. It didn't really seem like a catchable ball anyway. His slow start lasted all game, as Gates finally grabbed a short pass late in the fourth quarter on third and long, but came up well short of the first down marker.
2018 Week 9 vs SEA (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Gates' usage remains sporadic. He saw just one target in the passing game, and was the option on the two point conversion attempt early on. But there appeared to be some miscommunication, as Gates turned one way and the ball went the opposite direction.
2018 Week 10 vs OAK (2 / 1 / 18 / 0 rec)
Gates is not a fantasy option at this point, and hasn't been all season. The team still makes it a point to target him in the red zone, as they did today on a third down pass play. Defenders were all over him, however, and it was knocked away for an incompletion at the last moment. Gates did get open on a crossing route over the middle for an 18-yard gain to beat a blitz, but that was the extent of his damage.
2018 Week 11 vs DEN (7 / 5 / 80 / 1 rec)
Gates showed he still has something left in the tank, turning in by far his best game of the 2018 season. He showed off his soft hands on an early out route, going low to snag a 14-yard pass off the turf on third and 10 to convert a first down. Later in the first half, he again bailed out Rivers with a 26-yard catch-and-run over the middle. He even added a strong stiff-arm to pick up a few more yards after the fact. Early in the second half with the Chargers near the goal line, Gates got open in the right corner after beating his man off the line, but the pass from Rivers was underthrown and hit the defender's backside. A few plays later, however, Gates again got open 1-on-1 up the left side. This time, Rivers put the ball high and where only Gates could get to it, and he did just that. Late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers trying to run out the clock and facing a third down, Rivers floated a long pass to the sideline to Gates. The veteran tight end juggled it on his fingertips for a few moments, eventually securing the pass and going to the ground inbounds. At the time, it appeared that it was going to be the play that broke Denver's backs, but a culmination of events conspired to cost the Chargers the victory despite the heroics by Gates.
2018 Week 12 vs ARI (1 / 1 / 18 / 0 rec)
After a red-hot Week 11 performance, Gates saw just a single target against Arizona. The Chargers passing game dominated this week, but Gates' only involvement was breaking a tackle on a hitch route for a rare yards-after-catch opportunity. Secondary tight end Sean Culkin made the highlight play of the Chargers' tight ends against the Cardinals with a high-point catch down the sideline.
2018 Week 13 vs PIT (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Gates' first target of the game didn't come until late in the third quarter. It was a huge reception at the time, converting a critical third and 4 when Rivers found him wide open across the field for a big gain. But the play was negated by a holding penalty. He did get into the scoring column late in the third quarter when he hauled in the two point conversion attempt from Rivers following a Keenan Allen touchdown. Gates went straight to the corner while Rivers perfectly floated it over the defender to convert the conversion and cut it to an 8-point game. So Gates managed positive fantasy production despite not recording a single reception in the game.
2018 Week 14 vs CIN (2 / 2 / 19 / 0 rec)
Gates had two short receptions, both coming in the first half. The first was on a crossing route where Rivers had loads of time to wait for him to break open, and the second was a 9-yard gain over the middle from the shadow of their own end zone to give the team a bit of breathing room. After playing a somewhat prominent red zone role in recent weeks, he didn't see any looks near the end zone this time out.
2018 Week 15 vs KC (5 / 4 / 54 / 0 rec)
With Rivers' favorite target Keenan Allen out of the game early, someone on the offense needed to step in and perform as his security blanket. Gates was up to the task, turning in his second-best receiving totals of the season. His first grab went for 22 and converted the team's first down of the game when he shook his defender deep down the field and got open with a nice cutback. Gates showed his vintage step-back cut in the second half on a short reception over the middle. With the defender right next to him, Gates turned back the clock with a hard cut back, then took off up the field for nice yardage after the catch.
2018 Week 16 vs BAL (5 / 3 / 21 / 0 rec)
Gates had a couple of missed opportunities, and his miscue late in the fourth quarter was the death knell for the Chargers. He was targeted over the middle on a first half pass that would have put the ball just inside the 10-yard line. But despite being open, the throw was rushed a bit and the pass sailed high over his head. In the second half, he added two grabs - he was tripped up right away on one catch, and then picked up a first down on the very next play but was again taken down right away before he could get anything after the catch. Late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers driving for the potential game-winning score, Gates caught a pass and was fighting for extra yardage. Just before his knee touched down, a defender punched the ball loose and it was run back the other way for a Ravens touchdown to essentially end the game.
2018 Week 17 vs DEN (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Gates was the target of Rivers' second interception of the game, as the defender jumped in front of the route to easily pick it off. Aside from that, however, Gates was not a factor and didn't record a reception in the game.
2018 Week 18 vs BAL (4 / 4 / 35 / 0 rec)
Antonio Gates had a three of his four catches for third down conversions against the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday. Gates is a limited player physically at this point in his career, but still has a good rapport with Philip Rivers, especially in critical times. Gates will face New England next Sunday.
2018 Week 19 vs NE (8 / 5 / 41 / 1 rec)
Antonio Gates scored a touchdown on a red zone corner route late against the New England Patriots in a game that could be his last. Gates was targeted as a safety blanket for Rivers during the game but was held in check outside of his touchdown. Gates has diminished physically but remains a trusted target for Philip Rivers.
2017 Week 1 vs DEN (3 / 2 / 17 / 0 rec)
Gates was nearly invisible for the majority of the game, with just one target through the first three quarters. He finally hauled in his first catch on an 11-yard grab early in the fourth quarter. On one of the late fourth quarter drives, he caught a short pass over the middle to set up a third and short situation. But the majority of the offense ran through the wide receivers and Melvin Gordon in this game.
2017 Week 2 vs MIA (4 / 2 / 11 / 1 rec)
Gates had just two receptions in the game, but they were both extremely memorable. The first was a nice leaping snag over the middle, which was the 900th reception of Gates' career. His next catch was even more noteworthy. The third quarter touchdown reception was the 112th of his career, passing Tony Gonzalez for the most touchdown receptions in history by a tight end. Also noteworthy is that Gates got to 112 touchdowns in 64 fewer games than Gonzalez. Rivers had actually targeted Gates on the previous play, but the pass was way off-target and nearly intercepted in the back of the end zone. The touchdown itself was vintage Gates, as he shook the defender off the line, found the soft spot, and leapt for the score as he was being dragged to the ground. There was a brief moment where the team celebrated together on the field, and it was the final catch of the game for Gates. Also noteworthy is that Hunter Henry had a whopping seven receptions in the game, and was clearly Rivers' first option in the passing game from the tight end spot when the Chargers weren't in the red zone.
2017 Week 3 vs KC (5 / 2 / 30 / 0 rec)
The big tight end wasn't heavily involved, but unlike counterpart Hunter Henry, Gates was at least seeing regular targets from Philip Rivers throughout the game. He was the target on the first interception, although he didn't appear to even know where the ball was. He hadn't gotten his head fully turned around by the time it was picked off, so perhaps there was some miscommunication. And he did drop a third down target on a quick out to his left. He kind of pushed off a bit, but left the defender a bit too close to his body so the football was in traffic by the time it got to him. In terms of positive plays, there weren't many. He did haul in a floater over his head as he was running a cross to the right. He looked like he was lumbering a bit, but it got the job done. There were no plays of significance in the red zone, which is where the majority of Gates' production is likely to come from this season.
2017 Week 4 vs PHI (5 / 3 / 18 / 0 rec)
The tight end usage has been very sporadic in the offense through the season's quarter-pole, and that continued in this game. Neither Gates nor fellow tight end Hunter Henry really lit up the stat sheet, with Gates' involvement really not picking up until the fourth quarter. His back to back easy receptions over the middle went for minimal gains, and was the only way to remember he was even active since his name was rarely called prior to that. He did get open earlier towards the sideline for what could have been a nice gain, but Philip Rivers was under some pressure and put it a little too far over Gates' head.
2017 Week 5 vs NYG (3 / 2 / 23 / 0 rec)
Gates' three targets marked the lowest total of the season as the grizzled veteran has yet to surpass 30 yards in a game. One of Gates' receptions came well short of the sticks on third-and-long. Gates' biggest possible impact comes near the goal line, but he did not see any short-range end zone targets against the Giants.
2017 Week 6 vs OAK (1 / 1 / 16 / 0 rec)
As Hunter Henry was running wild and having his way with the Oakland defense, Gates wasn't getting very much action whatsoever. He got open off a play action fake for 16 yards up the right side, as the defender slipped allowing him to get wide open (although to his credit, Gates did run a nice route).
2017 Week 8 vs NE (2 / 2 / 25 / 0 rec)
Gates had a big grab over the middle early on, but wasn't quite enough to convert a 3rd and 17 pass play. He added a 9-yard grab later on, but that was the extent of his involvement. He was the target on the 2-point conversion attempt following Travis Benjamin's touchdown, but the pass was fired like a bullet well over his head and never really had a chance to be completed.
2017 Week 11 vs BUF (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Despite seemingly everyone getting in on the offensive action, Gates wasn't part of the game plan. He nearly scored on a first half jump ball, going high in the air for what would have been a sure touchdown. But he didn't catch it cleanly, and as he regrouped to snag it, a defender came up from the back and jarred the ball loose just as Gates landed. He was again targeted in the end zone early in the second half, but the play never really had a chance as the pass was too low and the play had no real rhythm to it.
2017 Week 12 vs DAL (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Henry was the clear second target of the Chargers' passing game in the road win against the Cowboys. Keenan Allen dominated targets with 42% of the team total, but Henry optimized his five targets, catching them all and producing big plays. Henry has been up and down this season, including three straight low-level performances leading up to this week's strong game. Henry was unstoppable on intermediate routes, logging three of his receptions on deep out or crossing routes for substantial gains. Henry showed quality movement for his size and added a contested goal line touchdown as the Chargers opened up a lead on Dallas. While his season has been a disappointment compared to the breakout projections, Henry has nearly matched his rookie season reception and yardage production with more than a month to play. Antonio Gates' decline continues as Henry's snap counts are strong on a weekly basis. The Browns and Redskins offer strong matchups for tight end production over the next two weeks.
2017 Week 13 vs CLE (4 / 3 / 32 / 0 rec)
After going two games without a reception, Gates was involved early in this one. His third reception of the game came with 11:20 still remaining in the first half, and he looked well on his way to a big game. That was his last reception of the game, however, although he may have gotten a chance to score late in the first half if not for a questionable no-call on a possible holding penalty just before halftime. He didn't break any big gains down the field, but he was at least involved. Gates has never been confused for one of the league's better blocking tight ends, so if he isn't catching passes, then his value on the field is minimal. Hunter Henry has mostly usurped Gates as the primary pass-catching tight end on the team, but Henry went down with a scary-looking leg injury late in the contest. If he were to miss any time, Gates would be in line to pick up the lion's share of the tight end targets.
2017 Week 14 vs WAS (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
In a game that saw Jeff Cumberland targeted twice, Gates was again conspicuously absent from the gameplan. As Hunter Henry's role has continued to increase, Gates had faded almost into oblivion. Even with the Chargers knocking on the doorstep of the end zone several times, Gates wasn't looked to at all.
2017 Week 15 vs KC (3 / 1 / 10 / 1 rec)
Gates has been pushed way to the back of the pecking order for targets over the season's second half, but that didn't stop him from a perfectly classic Rivers to Gates connection early in the third quarter. As long as he's been in the league, he still is a mismatch for linebackers in one on one coverage. Gates broke upfield and to the left corner of the end zone, leaving the defender in his wake so Rivers could drop a perfect pass in his arms for the score. The two had failed to be in sync on an earlier floater over the middle, but more than made up for it once they hit the red zone. After the game, it was revealed that Hunter Henry had suffered a lacerated kidney in the game. His status is still unknown, but it would stand to reason that Gates could potentially see some more targets over the final two weeks of the season if Henry is to miss any time.
2017 Week 16 vs NYJ (8 / 6 / 81 / 1 rec)
With Hunter Henry inactive, Gates had a golden opportunity to post his best game of the season. Gates took full advantage against the Jets, finishing second on the team in targets and nearly tripling his next best receiving output of 2017. Gates had three chunk gains, one of a wide open throwback play design and another down the seam. Gates showed better movement than much of his 2017 tape in this game. Gates also added a classic touchdown where he boxed out a defender in single coverage on a goal line slant - too easy of a play for the future hall of famer. With Henry out again in Week 17, Gates has another strong opportunity to produce against Oakland.
2017 Week 17 vs OAK (6 / 4 / 46 / 0 rec)
Gates had another solid performance in place of Hunter Henry. He had a long reception to set up a Keenan Allen touchdown, and added multiple receptions to set up third and short to keep drives going. He showed that although this could be his last ride, he still has enough game to be productive in the NFL.
2016 Week 1 vs KC (4 / 3 / 20 / 0 rec)
Gates did not play a major role in the Chargers offense today as he accounted for 3 catches and 20 yards on the day. Gates, now 36, does not play as big a role in the offense as he used to. They will still utilize his size and jumping ability in the red zone, but do not look for the same totals as seasons past.
2016 Week 2 vs JAX (5 / 3 / 15 / 1 rec)
Gates legs and YAC ability have all but disappeared but it is clear that Rivers still trust him in short yardage situations. He can still be seen as a 3rd down and red zone outlet, but he did not look like a focal point by any means.
2016 Week 5 vs OAK (5 / 4 / 30 / 1 rec)
In his return from injury, Gates rewarded fantasy owners who took the chance on him with a late touchdown. He made a quick slant inside, and benefitted from Tyrell Williams kind of pushing his defender out of the way so he was able to waltz into the end zone for the score. He was the primary option on an earlier touchdown pass that went to impressive rookie Hunter Henry, but with double coverage on him, Philip Rivers checked down to the rookie tight end instead. Aside from that, he kind of shared the tight end receiving workload with the aforementioned Henry. Gates had an early fumble on his first reception with a short grab over the middle before turning and spinning upfield to pick up extra yardage. He carelessly held the ball, however, allowing it to be knocked loose and recovered by the Raiders.
2016 Week 6 vs DEN (6 / 2 / 16 / 0 rec)
Gates had a tough evening. He dropped a short pass over the middle on San Diego's first offensive play of the game. And while he did convert two other third down conversions in the first half, he dropped another just before the half. It would have been a tough grab and the ball was thrown a little bit away from him, but those are catches he normally makes. In the second half, Gates and Rivers were uncharacteristically not on the same page on a couple of passes where the ball wasn't thrown where the target was supposed to be. I a bit of an ominous sign for Gates owners, rookie Hunter Henry turned in another excellent performance. It's relatively early in the season, but Gates doesn't appear to be the go-to guy even amongst the team's tight ends let alone the overall receivers.
2016 Week 7 vs ATL (10 / 5 / 38 / 0 rec)
Despite converting a game-saving fourth down reception with under two minutes left in regulation, Gates actually had a very poor performance. Nearly all of his receptions were short grabs over the middle, but he made two costly mistakes in this game that nearly cost the Chargers the game. The first was a miscommunication on a deep fade in the end zone where he never turned around for the ball. It could have easily been intercepted had the defender been looking for the ball, as Gates had no idea at all where it was. There has been a shockingly high number of plays this season with miscommunication between Rivers and Gates, who are almost always on the same page. At the end of regulation, Gates was targeted on a bullet pass at the goal line for what would have been the likely game-winning touchdown. He allowed the pass to bounce off his hands, however, and San Diego had to settle for a field goal (he had earlier dropped a potential third down conversion in the first half, showing a surprising propensity to drop passes). The aforementioned fourth down conversion should be noted, however, as the Chargers faced a must-convert fourth and 2 scenario with two minutes left in the game. The big tight end converted over the middle with a quick slant to keep the drive alive. Also noteworthy is that rookie tight end Hunter Henry, who has really been impressive thus far, appeared to get injured late in the game. There were no immediate reports on his condition afterward, but if he were to miss any time, Gates would likely be the obvious beneficiary of the extra targets.
2016 Week 8 vs DEN (9 / 4 / 33 / 1 rec)
Gates had a solid stat line, but only because he managed to get into the end zone early on. He caught a short pass over the middle with a defender right on top of him, but he did a nice job of dragging the defender with him as he lunged over the goal line at the last second for the score. He was later targeted in the end zone again on a corner fade where he appeared to be wide open having beaten his man, but the throw from Rivers was just out of his reach to the back corner. As far as his work outside the red zone, he actually showed a nice "wiggle" to break to the outside in beating his man off the line. The break to the outside picked up a first down as the pass from Rivers was waiting for him when he got there. He also had a huge grab over the middle late in the fourth quarter with a defender all over him. He fought for every inch to pick up a first down, and barely managed to convert. One item to note is that there was another instance of some miscommunication between he and Rivers, which is becoming an almost weekly occurrence between the two (who are typically on the same page in everything they do).
2016 Week 9 vs TEN (9 / 5 / 75 / 1 rec)
With fellow tight end Hunter Henry out of action in this game, it was little surprise that Gates saw his most extensive work of the season. He looked a bit more spry than usual right at the outset, converting a short third down conversion with surprisingly shifty moves to pick up extra yardage after the catch. He actually could have had more than the 17 he got, but he slipped after the second move to shake a defender. Later on that drive, he scored the 108th touchdown of his career with a quick out to the left (he now sits three behind Tony Gonzalez on the all-time tight end scoring list). He added a couple of deep receptions down the seam where he just sat down in the zone and waited for the Rivers pass. He looked to have pushed off on both of them, but it was so subtle that the official either didn't notice or didn't think it affected the play. But that slight extra space gave him all the room he needed. On his last catch, he caught it at the 5-yard line and spun off tacklers before being twisted down at the 2-yard line. He had earlier been targeted in the end zone, but was well-covered on the play and the ball wasn't really catchable. On a side note, it won't show up in the box score but Gates had the key block on a first half run by Melvin Gordon that went for 43 yards. He's always been an elite receiver, but if Gates' blocking remains impressive, Henry may have a much tougher time getting Gates off the field.
2016 Week 10 vs MIA (9 / 4 / 63 / 1 rec)
Gates did almost all of his damage (as well as a couple of miscues) prior to halftime. He had two very uncharacteristic drops in the first half, both on passes thrown a little bit away from his body but also passes he almost always brings in. He did follow up the second drop with a nice sideline grab for decent yardage to kind of offset the drop. Even more fortunately for his owners, those two drops bookended some nice production. Rivers hit him with a wide open pass down to the 11-yard line, and followed that up with a touchdown on the next play. He cut in over the middle and made a tough grab in traffic while being hit by two defenders on either side of his body, but still managed to maintain possession.
2016 Week 12 vs HOU (0 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Gates had caught at least one pass in 77 consecutive games coming into this one, but he didn't even see a target against Houston. In fact, the only time his name was mentioned was on a pass play to Tyrell Williams where Gates couldn't get open. Rookie Hunter Henry managed a score, but neither was heavily involved in the gameplan.
2016 Week 13 vs TB (4 / 4 / 37 / 0 rec)
Gates, who went catchless in last week's game, made a short grab over the middle on the very first play of the game. It appeared San Diego perhaps made it a point to get him the ball on the first play, so they didn't have a repeat of last week's zero targets. He only added a handful of other receptions, none of which were big plays down the field. He bailed out Philip Rivers on a third and long pass play by going up and snagging it before leaning forward as the defender hung all over him. He converted another key third down grab over the middle on a potential game-tying drive late. But there was nothing down the field and nothing near the end zone.
2016 Week 14 vs CAR (9 / 5 / 61 / 0 rec)
Gates made a nice grab early with a couple of defenders right on him, then all but disappeared until the second half. He did have one nice grab on a big play early in the second half. The defender tried stepping in front of him for the sideline pick, but all that did was to flip the ball up in the air. Gates managed to maintain his focus and bring it in for a nice 27-yard catch and run up the field. Gates would add a strong third down grab to the 11-yard line while fighting through two defenders. But that was the closest he got to the end zone. He was targeted on a 2-point conversion late in the third quarter and actually appeared to be open for a second, but the Philip Rivers pass was a bit underthrown and knocked away by the defender. Late in the game, Gates was the target on a deep ball up the left side that had no real shot of being caught - it just appeared Rivers was throwing up prayers and hoping they'd be answered by that point in the game.
2016 Week 15 vs OAK (2 / 1 / 11 / 0 rec)
Gates' San Diego career may be ending with a whimper. After playing pretty well and consistently for most of the season, he was almost nonexistent from the gameplan in this one. He made one first half reception, sitting in front of the zone and bringing in the bullet pass from Rivers. It was a nice route, and showed good athleticism in going low to the ground to bring it in. But aside from that, he was unable to get open either by route-running or through sheer physicality.
2016 Week 16 vs CLE (13 / 8 / 94 / 1 rec)
Between the former presence of Ladarius Green and the current presence of Hunter Henry, Gates has been written off by several pundits for the last several seasons. Yet he is going to close out yet another campaign as San Diego's top pass-catching tight end, and showed in this game that he's still got the complete trust of quarterback Philip Rivers. He started his afternoon off with one of the easiest touchdowns of his career on San Diego's opening possession. From the goal line, he leaked out into the flat off play action and there wasn't a defender within ten yards of him by the time he caught the ball. He added a couple more receptions later in the half, but really got busy in the second half. He drew a long pass interference penalty in the back corner of the end zone to set up another first and goal. And on the potential game-tying drives late in the fourth quarter, he was consistently Philip Rivers' first look. Gates made a wide open 20-yard grab to put the ball at the 13-yard line, but the ensuing potential game-tying field goal attempt was blocked. On the next drive, Gates made an incredible shoestring grab off the turf with the defender hanging all over him and trying to rip it away. He added a sideline grab on the next play, and then connected on a game-saving 4th and 10 pass play over the middle for 25 more yards. He was wide open on the play, and the catch put San Diego into field goal range. His final reception of the game came on a third down pass play. He couldn't quite push the pile far enough ahead to pick up the first down, so the Chargers were unable to spike the ball since it was now fourth down. With the team out of timeouts, they had to rush the field goal unit onto the field, which may have helped contribute to the kick being rushed a bit. It was missed wide right.
2016 Week 17 vs KC (8 / 5 / 55 / 1 rec)
Gates came into the game trailing legendary Tony Gonzalez by one on the all-time list for touchdowns by a tight end. From early on, it appeared that San Diego was going to make a conscious effort to try and get him at least the tying score and possibly the record-breaker. They succeeded in one out of two. After drawing a holding penalty in the end zone from five yards out, Gates was the recipient of career touchdown number 111, tying Gonzalez. On the play, Hunter Henry appeared to be open in the end zone but Rivers checked it down to Gates in the flat instead. Gates challenged the defender and leapt in the air to stretch the ball out over the goal line for the score. It seemed like he could have just bowled him over just as easily, but he opted to go high instead. In the second half, Gates again came face-to-face with a defender on a reception in the right flat. He looked like he was about to leap over Marcus Peters. But just as Peters braced for impact and backed away a bit, Gates just lunged forward into him as the two shared a laugh afterwards. Later in the drive, Rivers hit Gates right in the hands for what would have been the record-breaking score. But the ball appeared to get on him a little bit quicker than he expected, and he was unable to corral the pass. Late in the game with San Diego again knocking on the doorstep of the end zone, Rivers tossed a score to the aforementioned Henry. He appeared a bit upset about it on the sideline, perhaps realizing it was the last chance to get Gates the record in San Diego.
2015 Week 6 vs GB (16 / 9 / 95 / 0 rec)
On a day that Keenan Allen hauled in 14 receptions, it was actually the big tight end Gates who saw the most targets in the game. In fairness, the Chargers leaned on him much more heavily after Allen left the game with an injury, but he was an integral part of the attack right from the outset. He could have scored very early on in the game, streaking wide open towards the end zone. But Philip Rivers was hit as he threw, which disrupted the timing and power of the pass and the ball sailed well over Gates' head. Soon after, Gates nearly hauled in another touchdown but allowed the ball to bounce off his fingertips for a drop. At worst, it would have been a first down and goal from the goal line for the Chargers. Instead, it was a fourth down drop that resulted in the ball going to the Packers. Gates would remain fairly quiet until he grabbed a pass late in the first half, but he still wasn't putting up huge stats. That all changed in the second half, as Rivers really leaned on him. Gates had one reception on a crossing route that went for 21 yards, but could have gone for many more if wide receiver Dontrelle Inman had been able to hold his block just a bit longer (or if Gates had read the block differently and cut the opposite way). Late in the game, Gates showed some tremendous athleticism by snagging a pass over the middle with one hand. On the team's last-gasp drive to try and tie it up, Gates was the target of a pass along the back of the end zone from Rivers, but the ball never reall had a great chance to be completed. Curiously, the other three goal line opportunities on that series all went to Danny Woodhead.
2015 Week 8 vs BAL (5 / 4 / 56 / 0 rec)
Gates was questionable to play this game due to an MCL injury (knee). At times last week, it was reported that it could be a "multi-week injury", but Gates was surprisingly on the active list for this game. He was on the sideline to open the game, but looked plenty healthy going across the field on a crossing route for a 30-yard gain early on. Soon after, he drew a pass interference penalty for a first down with the defender draped all over him. Despite the fact that wide receiver Keenan Allen missed the entire second half, Gates would only add a handful of receptions the rest of the game.
2015 Week 9 vs CHI (11 / 6 / 69 / 0 rec)
Gates had a fairly solid game, thanks in large part to a huge 40-yard catch and run in the second half. We use the term "run" liberally, because he got open near the sideline and caught a long pass - and then kind of stumbled his way downfield for some extra yardage. He still doesn't seem to be moving fluidly on his injured knee. Later on in the fourth quarter, Gates appeared to have caught a touchdown in the back corner of the end zone following a Philip Rivers rollout. But a Charger lineman was illegally downfield on the play, negating the score. Later, Gates caught a short pass over the middle and was tackled down at the 5-yard line. Not quite the touchdown from a few plays earlier. Most of his targets were short passes over the middle, as usual. But he didn't convert very many of them, and aside from the one long gain, most of his receptions went for very little yardage (doing some quick math, his other five receptions totaled just 29 yards aside from the one big gain).
2015 Week 11 vs KC (3 / 1 / 6 / 0 rec)
After getting two weeks of rest since the last game, Gates still appears to be playing at far less than 100%.He caught just one pass, and was barely even targeted aside from that one (despite the fact that the huge majority of San Diego pass attempts were of the short and intermediate variety, Gates' specialty). Early on, Gates was seen yelling at quarterback Philip Rivers on the sideline. Things appeared to get heated, and Gates walked away as Rivers was still talking to him. At that point, he still hadn't caught a pass. Facing a 2nd and long pass play, Gates got wide open down the seam for what would have been a uge gain, but Rivers sailed it way over his head and not even close to where he wanted it. That was Gates' best opportunity to make a play, and even that wasn't really all that close.
2015 Week 12 vs JAX (6 / 4 / 53 / 2 rec)
Gates was quiet for most of the first quarter, then shook loose of his defender for a big 27-yard pass play down the right sideline to end the quarter. He was tackled awkwardly on the play, and appeared a bit slow to get up. That seemed meaningful as he wasn't even targeted again until just before halftime. However, he quickly proved he was healthy enough by going up high on an inside slant to easily beat his defender for a touchdown. His many wasn't even within arm's reach of Gates by the time he caught it, making it look just too easy. Following a quick Jacksonville turnover, Rivers found Gates once again for a score, this one just 1:04 after the previous one. It was a fade pattern to the corner, and Gates simply beat his man off the line and got wide open. Gates didn't do as much in the second half, although he did show a willingness to get physical on one pass play. He made a short grab out of the backfield, and instead of dropping to the turf or seeking out the sideline, he lowered his shoulder into the defender to bowl him over. The main takeaway here is that while Gates may not be 100% healthy again this season, he's certainly enough of a red zone threat to justify him as a fantasy threat. And any issues that may have occurred on the sideline last weekend between Gates and Rivers, are certainly in the rear-view mirror.
2015 Week 13 vs DEN (9 / 6 / 50 / 0 rec)
With Keenan Allen out for the season, Gates enters every game as the de factor number one option in the receiving game. In this game, Stevie Johnson was completely flummoxed by the Denver defense and didn't even see a single target. And the other primary option in the passing game, wide receiver Dontrelle Inman, left the game with what appeared to be a very serious neck injury early on. It's no surprise, then, that Gates led all players on both teams in targets. His first look came early in the first quarter, a floater down the sideline that would have gone for over twenty yards. But just as he was about to bring it in, he was drilled by a defender, jarring the ball loose. On his next target, he brought in a crossing route and lunged for the first down marker to convert it. He continued getting open almost at will, but more often than not it was crossing routes and short grabs over the middle for minimal gains. Part of the reason he wasn't able to do much down the field is the same reason none of the Chargers could do much down the field; because Philip Rivers was constantly under pressure, and didn't have enough time for anything deep to develop.
2015 Week 14 vs KC (8 / 6 / 76 / 0 rec)
Gates was really the only Charger who salvaged something productive in this game from a fantasy perspective. Week after week, Gates continues to pretty much do the same things over and over, and defenses are almost powerless to stop it. Run 8-10 yards upfield, stop, turn around, defender can't get around the big body, catch the ball, turn upfield and dive ahead for another yard or two. Rinse, repeat. In this one, he also made a tremendous one-handed snag on a floater towards the sideline. Gates showed soft hands in first deflecting it to himself, then cradling it in and keeping his feet inbounds. He was also hit in stride on a deep ball down the seam for a nice gain. And his last significant contribution was a big one, going up in traffic over the middle on a game-saving fourth down pass play with less than a minute remaining to keep the drive alive. Later on in that drive, Rivers threw a deep ball in the end zone on a third down pass play, but Gates couldn't get in position to make the catch. Once San Diego got close to the end zone, the offense stalled and was unable to punch one in for the tie. Curiously, Gates did not see any targets in the end zone from short yardage in that situation with the game on the line.
2015 Week 15 vs MIA (9 / 6 / 88 / 0 rec)
The old vet had a very solid game, but was close to a huge game on a couple of occasions. His first two receptions were both over the middle, and he went up high to snag both of them. He later added a 30-yard fade down the sideline on what was an absolutely perfectly-thrown ball by Philip Rivers. But when Rivers targeted him on a fade to the corner in the end zone, Gates couldn't get his hands up to make the play. And the reason was because there was a defender draped all over him (although no call was made). In the second half, Gates was hit in stride on a crossing route with a lot of room in front of him. But a nice tackle from behind by the defender prevented it from going for a huge gain. Late in the game, Gates was removed from the contest along with Rivers and wide receiver Malcom Floyd so that the home crowd could give them one last ovation (in case this was the final game the Chargers will play in San Diego).
2015 Week 17 vs DEN (5 / 3 / 34 / 1 rec)
Gates wasn't terribly busy, doing his usual work on crossing routes and underneath work over the middle. While he has slowed from his heyday, he's still simply too big to cover at times. And never was that more evident than on his touchdown reception. He went up and over his defender to grab the ball right over his head, somehow corraling a pass that the defender had better positioning than he did. To add to the difficulty, he also had to maintain possession as he fell hard to the ground and held on with one hand to establish the catch.
2014 Week 1 vs ARI (10 / 6 / 81 / 0 rec)
For a player who was questionable to play earlier in the week, Gates sure looked healthy out there. There was no noticeable limp, no hesitance, and in fact he actually looked to be moving around just as well as he does when he's not injured. Unfortunately, his hands didn't look quite as good as his feet, as he contributed a handful of dropped passes to the team's ledger. He did manage to get down the field on a couple of occasions for a few big gainers, including a team-long 34-yard reception along with left sideline. The defender had no chance as Gates shook him free essentially off the line. Despite calls for a reduced role in the offense, he led both teams in targets and had seven more targets than TE Ladarius Green.
2014 Week 2 vs SEA (7 / 7 / 96 / 3 rec)
Gates was targeted early and often, and was Philip Rivers security blanket when things broke down in the pocket. Gates faced heavy coverage throughout, but was able to take advantage of the linebackers guarding him, winning the one-on-one battle again and again. On all three TD catches, he was facing man coverage, but Rivers' timing of the pass was impeccable. At the moment Gates broke free, the ball would seemingly appear at that exact moment. The third score was the most memorable, as Gates reached out and brought in the ball one-handed. And after that, Gates was responsible for a key third down conversion to put the game away. Is the real Antonio Gates back? Hard to say, but for one game at least, he was absolutely dominant.
2014 Week 3 vs BUF (1 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
Gates only had one catch on his lone target as he picked up eight yards on a shallow crosser in the middle of field. Not much to the play, Gates easily got inside the coverage but wasn't able to create any separation once the catch was made.
2014 Week 4 vs JAX (5 / 3 / 30 / 0 rec)
Since his monster game two weeks ago against Seattle put him squarely back on the fantasy map, Gates has followed up with two very quiet performances. In this game, he got open a few times on short passes over the middle. But he wasn't breaking anything beyond the second level of the defense, and showed virtually nothing after the catch. He was targeted once in the end zone and seemingly had a defender draped all over him, but did not draw the flag from officials.
2014 Week 5 vs NYJ (6 / 4 / 60 / 2 rec)
At this point, it appears obvious that Gates' productivity is going to be somewhat inconsistent. Some games, he'll go off, and some games, he'll virtually disappear. Fortunately for his owners, this one was the former. He got wide open for a floater from QB Philip Rivers to cap the team's opening drive with a touchdown. He easily dominated his man off the line, tying former Rams WR Isaac Bruce for 10th on the all-time touchdown list with the 91st of his career. Gates added a second score later in the first half, demonstrating some nifty footwork in the front corner of the end zone. He barely got his first foot down inbounds as he caught the ball, but officials ruled he had gotten both feet in. In between the scores, he turned a simple crossing route into a 28-yard catch-and-run by running away from his man and showing a burst rarely seen from the big man in recent seasons. With so many options in the offense, his productivity may be sporadic at times. But it's pretty evident that Rivers has as much trust in Gates as any other receiver when the team is in the red zone.
2014 Week 6 vs OAK (8 / 3 / 27 / 1 rec)
Teams continue to use single coverage on Gates in the red zone, and he and QB Philip Rivers continue to make them pay. In this game, the ball was tipped at the line but Gates maintained excellent concentration on the pass to haul it in. The ball obviously came to him a bit awkwardly having been deflected, but he shielded the defender with his body and sort of cradled the pass as he brought it in for the score. He was targeted on two other occasions in the end zone as well. The first was early in the game and he had the ball in his hands over the goal line, but the ball was jarred loose when he was hit hard by a defender. Later in the game, Rivers tried forcing one to Gates in triple coverage and it never really had a chance to be caught.
2014 Week 7 vs KC (5 / 3 / 61 / 1 rec)
Gates was a man among boys in the first half of this game. He had three critical grabs on a late drive that the Chargers executed with lightning quickness (no pun intended). The first was a key third and 3 catch over the middle to convert for a first down and keep the drive alive. The second was a highly athletic play along the sideline for 27 yards, featuring Gates twisting towards the sideline and making a terrific adjustment to haul in the pass. And of course, the biggest offensive play of the game for San Diego was the touchdown pass he hauled in just before the end of the half. Rivers hoisted a pass in his direction in the end zone that was tipped at the line. Gates somehow kept his composure and maintained concentration on the ball to haul it in while keeping his feet inbounds. It was a terrific play that represented the 94th touchdown reception of his career.
2014 Week 8 vs DEN (8 / 5 / 54 / 2 rec)
Gates continues to defy logic in what has been a complete resurgence for him in 2014. He was overshadowed by WR Keenan Allen in terms of targets, but Gates was once again the go-to guy in the red zone, as he has been all season long for QB Philip Rivers. His longest catch of the game was an outstanding fingertip grab over the top down the seam. With his arms fully extended, Gates cradled the lob from Rivers to pick up a key third down and simultaneously pass Lance Alworth as the Chargers' all-time leader in receiving yardage. That catch led to a Keenan Allen touchdown, but Gates wasn't finished, as he added two scores in the second half. The first was a wide open grab over the middle of the field off a bullet strike from Rivers. Gates had actually been targeted on the previous play and had the ball knocked from his hands at the last moment. But Rivers continued going back to that well. Later in the game, the QB hoisted a pass to the front corner of the end zone for a jump ball. In one on one coverage, Gates went high in the air to snag it at its highest point while expertly using his body to shield the defender and come down with the score.
2014 Week 9 vs MIA (5 / 3 / 28 / 0 rec)
Gates has been a stud for most of the season, but the entire passing game was out of sync in this game. More importantly, he appears to be no worse for wear after an injury scare in the second half. He was having his right ankle looked at and was walking around pretty gingerly on the sideline, seemingly done for the day. But he came back in despite San Diego trailing 37-0 and even made a reception, so whatever it was must not have been too serious.
2014 Week 11 vs OAK (3 / 3 / 32 / 0 rec)
Gates was quiet for about 90% of the game, but he rose to the occasion when the moment caleld for it. Facing a 3rd and 3 late in the game and the Chargers trying to run out the clock, Rivers targeted a double-covered Gates down the field. First he had the wherewithall to deflect the ball away from the first defender. Then after deflecting it up in the air, he managed to maintain his concentration enough to get his hands back on the ball and wrestle it away from the other defender as well. It was an enormous catch to convert the first down and keep the chains moving, enabling the Chargers to run the clock way down.
2014 Week 12 vs STL (2 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec)
Gates was almost non-existent in this game, as the Chargers rarely looked in his direction. Even when they got near the goal line, his specialty, he didn't receive any looks. His first reception didn't come until around the 1:30 mark left in the first half going for for four yards, and his only other reception went for ten. It was a bit curious that he wasn't more involved considering the gameplan called for a heavy dose of the short passing game, but Gates never really appeared to be open either and Rivers had no need to force the action.
2014 Week 13 vs BAL (8 / 7 / 83 / 0 rec)
For stretches of the first half, Gates appeared to be almost uncoverable. With the Ravens paying so much attention to the wide receivers early on, Gates was able to roam free. In the second half, they clamped down a bit more tightly on Gates - and unsurprisingly, the wide receivers started putting up huge numbers. In the first half, Gates picked up several first downs on third and long scenarios, as Baltimore attempted to cover him one on one with a linebacker. After the Chargers exploited that, the Ravens paid for the extra attention being paid to Gates by letting WRs Keenan Allen and Eddie Royal to roam free in the second half. Essentially, even when Gates wasn't the focal point of the offense, he was still able to make things happen for everyone else.
2014 Week 14 vs NE (8 / 5 / 34 / 0 rec)
Gates was involved, but had limited success with his involvement. His game started off on the wrong foot, when he slowed down on his very first route of the game up the sideline. Gates didn't realize Rivers was looking in his direction, and the timing was thrown off when the big tight end sort of stopped running. The pass was overthrown by a bit, suggesting that if Gates had still been in stride, it may have gone for a nice gain. On the next play, Gates DID pick up a first down gain over the middle on a nice crossing route. Later in the half, he caught a pass over the middle, had it knocked out of his hands as he was spinning away from the ball, did a complete 360, and grabbed the ball again before it could hit the ground or be recovered by New England. He was very lucky, but it also showed some uncanny eye-hand coordination (even for an NFL pass-catcher). Gates was targeted on the team's last-gasp effort on a fourth down pass play late in the fourth quarter. The team needed five yards, but he ran his route a bit short and picked up four. He also looked a bit shaken on the play and slow to get up, but there was no immediate word on an injury.
2014 Week 15 vs DEN (7 / 6 / 54 / 1 rec)
Gates, who was shaken up at the end of last week's game, curiously wasn't on the field for the first play of this week either. But he came in for the second one, and had the best game of any Charger (although that's not saying much when they had a performance like this). Gates couldn't really be covered one on one, but Denver stubbornly tried to do it anyway. Several of his catches went for first downs, and came at times when the Chargers absolutely had to move the football and keep drives alive. He actually did all of his damage when the outcome was still in doubt, with nothing coming during so-called "garbage time". He caught his 10th touchdown pass of the season, the fourth time in his career he has done so. And in doing so, he recorded the 70th touchdown reception of his career from QB Philip Rivers. It was a simple quick slant inside, beating his man off the line, and Rivers put a bullet pass right on his hands to split the defenders for the easy score. The two were unable to connect for touchdown #71 late in the game, with Rivers getting intercepted in the end zone when he tried forcing a pass to Gates into double coverage.
2014 Week 16 vs SF (9 / 7 / 92 / 2 rec)
With 11:30 left in the first half, Gates was still without a target. Late in the first half, he still didn't have a catch. That would all change in a big way, and by the end of the night Gates was putting up his usual eye-popping fantasy stats. He picked up a 28-yard gain on a catch and run late in the first half, hit perfectly in stride by QB Philip Rivers. The two later connected on a short 1-yard score when Gates slipped out into the flat on 3rd and 1. The play fake to the running back caused the defense to freeze a bit, and Gates caught the pass right at the goal line. He was upended, but he kept his balance enough to allow his momentum to carry him into the end zone. It wasn't his last trip to the end zone, as he got WIDE open later in the game for a 21-yard score. San Francisco botched its coverage and allowed him to roam free down the sideline and wait in the end zone for one of the easiest touchdowns you'll ever see. Perhaps that lack of attention on Gates is a reason for why they covered him so tightly after that. In fact, even though Gates didn't actually catch the game-tying touchdown, he had every bit to do with it as anyone else. The 49ers were so concerned with Gates that they draped him in coverage, which enabled the other receivers (among them, WR Malcom Floyd) to do their work in single coverage. Floyd caught the game-tying score, and the Chargers went on to win in overtime.
2014 Week 17 vs KC (6 / 4 / 67 / 0 rec)
Even superstar players can have quiet games from time to time. But this was out of line even for that. Gates not only didn't catch a pass until 4:32 remaining in the third quarter, but he wasn't even TARGETED until midway through the third quarter. Not surprisingly, when the Chargers finally started throwing it to Gates, they began moving the football better. He had three long receptions on one drive, and another big 17-yard catch and run on the next possession. Unfortunately, that's pretty much all the activity he got in the game. He was targeted in the end zone on a critical fourth down pass, but never had a chance to bring it in as the defender batted it down before it even reached him.
2013 Week 1 vs HOU (4 / 2 / 49 / 0 rec)
Gates made his first reception late in the first quarter on a crossing route to pick up a first down. He tried turning upfield but was tripped up. He was later hit perfectly in stride over the middle before taking off up the sideline for a big 34-yard gain and wasn't taken down until he reached the 5-yard line. In the second half, Gates was thrown to on another deep ball down the left sideline - he had the ball on his fingertips, but couldn't quite corral it in for the catch. As with most of the San Diego offensive players, the offensive struggles in the second half really reduced any opportunities for production. On the bright side, Gates looks lean and much quicker than he did last year, which can only mean good things for his fantasy prospects.
2013 Week 2 vs PHI (10 / 8 / 124 / 0 rec)
The performance by Gates in this game is a classic example of why it is important to get the story behind the box score. A quick glance at the stat line suggests that Gates had a great game, leading the team in both receptions and yardage by a wide margin. But he left a lot of productivity out on the field. He and Rivers had a nice connection early and often, as the quarterback hit his big tight end in stride multiple times. Gates looked quick and was shaking defenders left and right. On a couple of occasions, he caught a crossing route and stopped on a dime, allowing the defender to go skating past him before taking off upfield again for a big gain. Just before the half, he used that exact move to shake a defender and then sprinted towards the end zone, seemingly about to score. But just as he neared the goal line, he was hit from behind and fumbled the ball away to the Eagles. It was his first lost fumble since September 2008, but it was hardly his last mistake in the game. To open the second half, he was targeted on a short pass over the middle and outright dropped it. Later, he was targeted on a floater in the end zone in one on one coverage. It ended up as a jump ball, which Gates got his hands on first, but he dropped it as he tried bringing it into his body. The play should have been a fairly easy score. On an ensuing drive, Rivers found Gates on a short pass out in the flat. The ball bounced around a bit before he finally deflected it to himself. But even then, once he regained control of the ball, he failed to secure it against his body. It wasn't stripped away, but had there been a defender behind him, it certainly could have been. Gates finished up his mistake-filled game in strong fashion, however, making back to back key receptions on the team's eventual game-winning drive. He was just running right through people, stiff arms and bruising upfield the whole way in typical Gates fashion.
2013 Week 3 vs TEN (7 / 5 / 55 / 1 rec)
Based on the first quarter, it appeared as if Gates was in line for one of his best career games. QB Philip Rivers was looking to him early and often, in every situation, and Gates was responding with his typical excellence. He made a beautiful one-handed snag along the sideline, just reaching out his hand and the ball seemed to almost stick to it. He was also targeted in the end zone on the team's opening possession, going up and over the top of the defender to haul in the pass. He also did a terrific job of keeping his feet inbounds along the back line while twisting his body, for a truly outstanding grab all the way around. As he has done many times before, he used his superior speed, size, and strength, all simultaneously, to box out the defender and actually take it away from him at the last moment. Gates nearly added a second touchdown reception on a nice grab over the middle in the second half. He took a big hit on the play and was tackled down right at the 1-yard line, with the drive resulting in an eventual Ronnie Brown touchdown. Unfortunately for Gates, the pace of the game and the inability of the San Diego defense to get off the field resulted in a lack of opportunities, and he ended up with a solid albeit unspectacular stat line.
2013 Week 4 vs DAL (10 / 10 / 136 / 1 rec)
Gates was incredibly busy in this game, posting his highest yardage total since Week 4 of the 2010 season and his most receptions in a game since Week 3 of 2007. Gates caught everything thrown in his general vicinity, and on every type of route. It's no mystery why the resurgences of both Philip Rivers and Gates have coincided with one another. Gates showed off his entire repertoire in this one - strength to stiff-arm a defender following a short pass, awareness of where the defenders were, using his body to shield away defensive backs from the ball, and straight-line speed. In doing so, he passed legendary Ozzie Newsome for fourth place on the all-time list in receptions by a tight end. And soon after, he put the capper on his afternoon by streaking down the seam for a 56-yard touchdown pass. In recent seasons, Gates may have been caught from behind by his defender, but not here. It was the score that put the game out of reach, and demonstrated just how devastatingly effective Gates can be when fully healthy and in shape.
2013 Week 5 vs OAK (10 / 7 / 74 / 0 rec)
Gates had yet another excellent game, and all that was missing was the touchdown. There was a close call on that front, with Gates being targeted at the 1-yard line by Rivers on a designed quick screen. But the ball was thrown out in front of him, almost leading him towards the goal line, so it fell incomplete. Had he thrown it right to Gates, the big tight end probably would have caught it and walked into the end zone. He did the majority of his work over the middle of the field, and looked very smooth and fluid again. It cannot be overstated how much healthier Gates looks this season than in recent years, and it shows up in the box score.
2013 Week 6 vs IND (8 / 4 / 28 / 0 rec)
Gates had a quiet game, which was due in part to the emergence of WR Keenan Allen and also due in part to the repeated drop issues by Gates. He has had a bit of a rough go in the early going, dropping several very catchable passes already in the young season. He added to that total in this game, dropping an easy one on the team's opening possession. Later in the first half, he had a ball in his hands that wasn't technically a drop but it was stripped away by the defender as he tried coming down with it (still a ball he normally hauls in). In the second half, he brought in three receptions as the Chargers ran the offense fairly conservatively. After staying in to block, he was the last resort for Rivers to dump it off in the flat. He ended up taking it upfield for a nice first down gain. Soon after that, he showed that the patented Gates move (planting hard with one foot to fake a spin and then turning it upfield the other way) is back, something that has been missing the past couple of seasons due to his foot injuries. Late in the game, he had a chance to essentially clinch the game with a short third down reception. But the normally reliable tight end ran his route just short of the sticks, coming up inches shy of the conversion. On fourth down, the Chargers were forced to attempt a long field goal rather than running time off the clock, which the first down would have enabled them to do.
2013 Week 7 vs JAX (6 / 6 / 31 / 0 rec)
Gates was busy, but didn't break any gains for more than seven yards. He caught a team high six balls, but had the fifth-most receiving yards on the team. Most of his routes were of the shorter variety where he just sat down in front of the defense. He did get a scoring chance when Rivers flipped a shovel pass to him from inside the 5-yard line. However, Gates was taken down short of the goal line. In fact, he appeared to have fumbled the football away to the Jaguars right at the goal line. But the officials ruled that there had been no clear recovery by Jacksonville on the play, so Gates was spared the turnover. With the Chargers at the doorstep of the goal line late in the first half, Rivers continuously looked for wR Keenan Allen and never once went in Gates' direction.
2013 Week 9 vs WAS (10 / 6 / 53 / 0 rec)
Gates had a solid but unspectacular game. His early receptions were of the shorter variety, as has been the case with most of his grabs this season. With his return to good health, the Chargers have the ability to get him the ball quickly off the line and allow him to make plays after the catch. The one time he was targeted deep down the field, he actually had beaten his man for what could have been a long gain. Unfortunately for San Diego, the ball was underthrown a bit. The defender had his back to Rivers but had the good fortune to have the football bounce off the back of his helmet for an incompletion. Gates did have a chance, albeit a slight one, to turn in a more impressive stat line for his owners. He was the recipient of a goal line corner fade late in the fourth quarter with the Chargers driving for the go-ahead score. But Gates didn't get off the line all that quickly, and the ball was thrown well beyond him for an incomplete pass.
2013 Week 10 vs DEN (8 / 4 / 62 / 0 rec)
Gates had a solid game, leading the team in receptions, yards, and targets. Still, it's a bit of a concern for Gates owners that a game in which he's finally the top option in the passing game ends up with him putting up merely "good" statistics. It could have been so much more, drawing a pass interference penalty in the first quarter (that could have been a nice gain if not for the flag) and later missing out on a one-handed touchdown in the end zone. He also could have made a nice one-handed grab on a ball thrown down the field, but that wasn't by choice. He had to use one arm because the other one was being held by a defender (but nothing was called). Other than that, he again looked strong and healthy with the ball in his hands. He caught a first half pass in stride and plowed right through the tackler on his way up the sideline. As he finally did get tackled, he fell forward for some additional yardage. His biggest reception of the game came on a play in which Denver only rushed three defenders. QB Philip Rivers sat back and surveyed the field, waited for Gates to sneak down the sideline, and the two connected for a big 24-yard pass play on third and long. But it was the end zone pass that could have really capped Gates' game. The ball was deflected at the front of the end zone, yet Gates made a quick adjustment and still nearly managed to pin it against his body for the score. Unfortunately for him, it was knocked away from him for an incomplete pass.
2013 Week 11 vs MIA (6 / 4 / 52 / 1 rec)
Gates had a solid performance, but had to share some of the tight end bounty with Ladarius Green. The youngster paced San Diego with 81 yards through the air, relegating Gates to second fiddle in terms of yardage. Still, Gates made his presence felt with a number of big plays. He caught a touchdown early on, easily beating his man off the line. Gates made a quick stop and bounced through the wide open space, and with no defensive help behind his coverage man, Gates slid across the middle of the end zone for the score. Late in the first half, Gates dropped a wide open crossing route, though the ball was definitely thrown a bit wide. It would have been a tough catch, but mishandling receptions has been an issue at times for Gates this season. Fortunately for him, the team called the very same route for him on the ensuing play and this time he hauls it in. He rumbled down the field, stiff-armed the defender, and picked up extra yardage for the big gain. Unfortunately, he was whistled for a penalty that backed them up when it was ruled he had grabbed the defender's facemask during the stiff-arm. Like most San Diego players, his activity dwindled in the second half. He made one short catch over the middle and moved pretty well after the catch to pick up the first down, but that was the extent of his damage.
2013 Week 12 vs KC (8 / 3 / 21 / 0 rec)
On a day when Gates became the fourth tight end in history to catch 700 passes (he was also the fourth tight end in history with 699), he actually took a back seat to youngsters WR Keenan Allen and TE Ladarius Green in the passing game. He didn't make any big explosive plays, but he was targeted at two key junctures. The first was in the second half, when Gates beat his man in the end zone and made a terrific adjustment on the pass. But unfortunately for him, he was along the back line of the end zone already and QB Philip Rivers threw it just a bit too far out of bounds. Later in the game, with about a minute left to play and San Diego facing a third down and ten, Rivers went to the reliable Gates once again to convert for a first down. While the volume was certainly down, Gates was actually able to gain separation at times against a stout Kansas City defense.
2013 Week 13 vs CIN (9 / 5 / 41 / 0 rec)
Despite looking healthier than he has in years and despite putting up nice stats most weeks, it hasn't been a banner season for Gates. In this game, he was once again upstaged by his understudy Ladarius Green (who tallied four more yards and one more score than Gates had, despite catching three less passes). Gates looked solid for the most part, with most of his damage once again coming over the middle. Unfortunately for Gates, his miscues loomed much larger than any productivity he had. After fumbling just twice in the last ten years, he fumbled the ball for the second time this season when he lost one in the first half. The review made it look like he was close to having a knee down, but there wasn't enough evidence to overturn the initial call on the field. Gates later had another miscue, this one even more costly. A Rivers pass was jostling around in his hands and never actually hit the ground, so it was ruled an interception of QB Philip Rivers when the defender came up with it - but make no mistake, it was Gates' fault. At times, Gates remained on the field even when Green came in, showing that the Chargers aren't seeing these two as merely starter/backup but rather as complements to one another.
2013 Week 14 vs NYG (6 / 4 / 50 / 0 rec)
Gates began the season as the team's primary passing option, but has quickly moved to second fiddle after WR Keenan Allen (and perhaps third after RB Danny Woodhead). His big play in this game was a 23-yard catch and run on a crossing route over the middle. It was perfectly-timed in stride, and he rumbled his way down to the doorstep of the goal line. But Gates wasn't looked to in red zone situations, and allowed yet another pass to bounce off his hands for an incompletion. His normally reliable hands haven't been as good this season as in years past, and this was the latest example.
2013 Week 15 vs DEN (3 / 2 / 23 / 0 rec)
If you were a San Diego receiver in this game, chances are you had a very quiet evening. The team opted to play keepaway from the Broncos, choosing to run the ball 44 times as oppposed to just 29 pass attempts. The result was that no Charger had more than three receptions or 54 yards. Gates' involvement was pretty typical of the San Diego receiving corps, with a crossing route early on going for 14 yards and getting the Chargers into the red zone - but then very little after that. He was the closest target to an end zone pass that sailed well over everyone for an incompletion, and never saw anything near the end zone the rest of the way. As mentioned, the Chargers kind of took the air out of the ball after halftime and ran it almost exclusively from that point on. Gates did lose about a 5-yard reception early on when he caught a second and 6 pass that went for five yards. Denver had gone offsides on the play, so San Diego HC Mike McCoy wisely opted to take the penalty and negate the gain by Gates.
2013 Week 16 vs OAK (3 / 3 / 42 / 0 rec)
Gates did just about all of his damage prior to halftime. He looked strong, catching a crossing route and then essentially punching defenders out of his way, on an early catch. He used his body to shield out the defender on another first down conversion over the middle. And lastly, he turned a TE screen into a runaway freight train when he turned upfield with a head of steam on a short reception. Rather than trying to dance around the defender, he appeared to be seeking out contact and simply bowled over the defender in his way with a violent collision. In the second half, San Diego focused more on the run game and getting the ball to the wide receivers.
2013 Week 17 vs KC (5 / 4 / 31 / 1 rec)
Gates made a short grab over the middle on the first offensive play of the game. Later in the half, he was the target of a goal line pass play that resulted in a touchdown. He broke out from the line on a corner route by beating his man right off the jump, then spinning back towards the field to adjust and bring the pass in for the score. Most of his other receptions went for minimal gains, although he did convert a big third down and long pass play midway through the third quarter.
2013 Week 18 vs CIN (1 / 1 / 5 / 0 rec)
Gates has become the primary blocking back for San Diego. With the emergence of Ladarius Green, Gates just isn't needed, and in all honesty, doesn't possess the speed to scare defenses. Foot injuries and extra weight have caused Gates to lose his ability at a far quicker pace than that of, say, Tony Gonzalez. He was only able to get one reception in this game, but did a ton of blocking.
2013 Week 19 vs DEN (4 / 2 / 10 / 0 rec)
Antonio Gates struggled to get anything going against an active Denver defense, finishing the day with just 4 targets, 2 receptions, and no first downs. While Gates often looked slow against Denver, the Broncos still respected the threat he presented, often assigning a cornerback to cover him. Gates' day ended with a pair of incomplete passes on 3rd-and-5, one of which hit him for what should have been an easy reception, but which Gates dropped with a defender on his back.
2012 Week 1 vs OAK (8 / 4 / 43 / 0 rec)
In what many people expect to be a big year for Gates, he didn't have a very good game to start off the season. His evening started very inauspiciously when he allowed a very catchable ball to go through his hands in the end zone. There was a lot of zip on the pass, but it is a catch that Gates makes 99 times out of 100 and it should have been caught. Then his first catch of the game didn't come until midway through the second quarter. He did haul in a nice grab on a third down floater near the left sideline, a jump ball that almost no defender in the NFL can stop when Gates has position. In the second half, he showed amazing hands in snatching a little dump off over the middle with one hand. But while fighting for the first down, he was gang tackled by several Raider defenders and appeared to hurt his ribs. He left for the locker room briefly, but just when it seemed like his night might be over, he re-emerged and came back into the game. He saw several targets too, so he wasn't just being used as a decoy. He and Rivers didn't entirely seem on the same page at times with some miscommunication here and there especially near the goal line. We can expect them to get back in sync fairly soon, and it would greatly benefit Gates owners as he left a lot of points on the field in this one.
2012 Week 3 vs ATL (7 / 3 / 22 / 0 rec)
Gates continued his underwhelming performance thus far in 2012, having a very quiet game even when he was targeted. He was wide open down the seam for what could have been an easy touchdown from 45 yards out. The problem? Rivers never saw him, instead hoisting one down the sideline to WR Malcom Floyd. Gates' first catch of the game didn't come until there was left than a minute remaining in the first half, and it was for a very minimal gain. In the second half, he was targeted a bit more but the Chargers still had a lot of trouble finding any sort of offensive rhythm. He was targeted once in the end zone and he seemed to have a step on the defender, but the ball came out low and was knocked away. Later in the game, he was wide open for an easy first down reception but he tried turning upfield to run before he caught it, and ended up dropping the ball. It was a very disappointing performance for all San Diego skill players, and Gates is certainly at the top of that list.
2012 Week 4 vs KC (3 / 3 / 59 / 0 rec)
All of Gates' productivity came in the first half. He was abusing Kansas City's single coverage, drawing penalties on each of his first two passing targets and later making a couple of nice receptions over the middle. His long gain was a sweet 33-yard catch and run on a perfectly-placed pass by QB Philip Rivers. Gates was simply having his way with the Chiefs. Curiously, the Chargers never looked to Gates when they got down near the end zone, as it was the Jackie Battle show all game long. And like most San Diego offensive players, Gates didn't do much of anything in the second half as they mostly just protected their lead.
2012 Week 5 vs NO (7 / 3 / 19 / 0 rec)
Gates didn't have his best day in a Chargers' uniform, but he showed enough to believe in his athleticism and gamebreaking ability this late into his career. His first catch was a screen pass that was stopped at the line of scrimmage. He then couldn't reel in a jump ball in the endzone as Roman Harper made a great play to knock the ball away in single coverage. Gates caught a pass over the middle with a defender on his back for eight yards, before losing Roman Harper underneath with an excellent pivot move that showed off his agility and route running prowess. Gates was harshly flagged late in the game when he caught a massive deep ball on a crossing route. The play was negated for offensive pass interference, but it was a very soft call and didn't take away from Gates ability to beat Harper deep.
2012 Week 6 vs DEN (10 / 6 / 81 / 2 rec)
Gates finally broke out for a big game for the first time in 2012. Midway through the first quarter, Gates hauled in his first touchdown reception of the season. It was a short pass near the goal line where Gates had to fight through the tackler and then lunge into the end zone for the score. It was the 50th touchdown connection between Rivers and Gates, the most prolific QB to TE touchdown duo in NFL history. Later in the second half, Gates would add number 51 doing a great job of corralling the ball over the middle with his fingertips. He had made a quick slant to the middle of the field and showed soft hands in bringing the pass into his body between defenders to open up a short-lived 24-0 lead. The Chargers appeared to be making a concerted effort to keep Gates involved in the offensive gameplan, as it was tough for Denver defenders to hang with him. He snagged a deep crossing route, made a nice cut-back over the middle to pick up a key first down conversion, drew defensive penalties, and was even force-fed a deep ball down the middle on a jump ball opportunity (which was intercepted). Along the way, Gates passed Hall of Famer Ozzie Newsome in career receiving yardage and looked well on his way to a huge performance. But while Gates did get back into the act midway through the fourth quarter, he was unable to match the brilliance of his first half performance.
2012 Week 8 vs CLE (4 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec)
Gates went back to his disappearing act for this game. His first catch of the game didn't come until there were 30 seconds remaining in the first half. He got a bit more work in the second half, targeted on a third down pass but it was thrown a bit too high and too hard. Gates also saw a pass in the end zone, but by the time the ball reached him there were a lot of defenders around him and there wasn't much chance to complete the pass. Late in the game, he hauled in a 9-yard pass that he went high for. That was it for his work in the game.
2012 Week 9 vs KC (3 / 3 / 43 / 1 rec)
Gates looked to be in line for a huge game after the opening drive, as he had 35 receiving yards and a score after just one possession. After that drive, however, Kansas City blanketed Gates often with two defenders and he added just one more catch for eight yards the rest of the way. On that opening drive, he got wide open and hauled in a nice easy lob pass over his shoulder for 21 yards. Soon after that, he made a nice move off the line to shake the defender and beat the press, then caught another lob inside the 5-yard line. It was tough to see if he fumbled the ball into the end zone or reached the ball over the pylon and had it knocked away after the score, but either way it was ruled a touchdown.
2012 Week 10 vs TB (5 / 4 / 57 / 1 rec)
Like most of the Chargers, Gates did his damage in the first half of the game. The afternoon started off well for him as he drew a holding flag to convert a third down on an early drive. On the next possession, he made a big play down the seam for a huge 33-yard gain. On the play, he leapt in front of the defender and used his body to shield the football away. A few plays later, he made a very nice leaping grab over the middle of the field as he fully extended his arms and brought in the ball with his hands for the score. Gates looked extremely athletic on the drive, easing any concerns owners have had about him so far this season. Later in the first half, he appeared to have gotten beyond the defense for what could have and should have been a very long touchdown pass. But the ball was underthrown by QB Philip Rivers and the defender got there to break up the pass just in time (originally it was ruled pass interference, but the officials changed the call on the field). Gates added two more receptions on an ensuing possession, keeping the drive moving for what would eventually result in a Malcom Floyd score. But Gates was nowhere to be found in the second half, as the San Diego offense sputtered compared to what they were doing in half number one.
2012 Week 11 vs DEN (4 / 2 / 17 / 0 rec)
Gates' quiet season continued, as he caught just two short passes including only one in the second half. He did a nice job just getting his hands on the floating screen pass to him, but there was no room to run after the catch. With the emergence of WR Danario Alexander over the last few weeks and the continued solid play of WR Malcom Floyd, it is safe to say that Gates may be no better than the team's third option in the passing game at this point.
2012 Week 12 vs BAL (2 / 2 / 13 / 0 rec)
Gates' hugely disappointing season continued, as he didn't record his first catch until less than six minutes remaining in the first half. He did make a nice catch over the middle in the second half. He tried to pivot against the tackle to spin off for the first down, but the defender wasn't fooled and dragged Gates down well short of the first down instead. It's not as if Gates was close to a bunch of other receptions though - those were the only two targets he had in the entire game.
2012 Week 13 vs CIN (8 / 6 / 49 / 0 rec)
The nightmarish season took a week off in this game, as Gates turned in a relatively solid receiving performance (although he still failed to reach the end zone, and never really even came close). The Chargers got him involved early in this game right from the opening drive, picking up 18 yards on a deep slant over the middle as QB Philip Rivers found him in stride. But just as quickly as he was on the scene, he was back off. The Chargers threw it a whopping 48 times, and yet Gates saw just eight of those passes (the same number as RB Ronnie Brown). In fact, Gates' biggest contribution to the game may have been pouncing on a loose ball that was fumbled away by Rivers, saving the team from a turnover. Even on that play, however, it took Gates a good 2-3 seconds or so to even decide to go get the loose football that was just sitting there waiting to be recovered.
2012 Week 14 vs PIT (8 / 3 / 31 / 0 rec)
Gates had a handful of chances to make a few plays downfield, but wasn't able to convert most of those chances. And for the most part, it was more of the same disappointment for Gates owners. He dropped a sideline pass that was slightly underthrown. The ball was thrown low and was not an easy play, but Gates dropped it because he tried to make a shoestring catch and turn upfield instead of just sliding to the ground and getting his hands under it. He was targeted twice more on deep balls, one down the seam and one on the sideline. But both passes were overthrown out of his reach and there wasn't much separation between he and the defender. Gates did make a big 14-yard catch downfield to get the team into field goal range, but again he didn't catch it cleanly. He tipped it to himself and managed to cradle it in before going out of bounds. His last catch of the game came on a tipped ball at the line. Finally, Gates was able to display some of the athleticism he still does possess. The ball was tipped at the line and floated a bit. Gates reached up with one hand and snagged the wobbly pass out of the air as he headed upfield, showing terrific concentration on the play.
2012 Week 15 vs CAR (6 / 4 / 31 / 1 rec)
It probably wasn't the way he dreamed it up, but Gates finally tied former Chargers great Lance Alworth as the team's all-time leader in touchdown receptions with 81. The score by Gates came early in the fourth quarter with the team trailing 31-0 and all hope of a comeback already out the window. Still, it was a good sign to see Gates somewhat return to fantasy prominence after a very underachieving season. He had a handful of short catches over the middle, but the team never looked to him for anything downfield or for big plays. And in the second half, he was slow to get up after a reception. He was doubled over and crouching in pain, eventually dropping to a knee and letting the training staff take a look at him. But two plays later, he hauled in that difficult touchdown reception to tie the record. It came on a corner fade, and Gates did a nice job of hauling in the pass over his head and managing to keep both feet inbounds as he reached the corner.
2012 Week 16 vs NYJ (3 / 2 / 44 / 1 rec)
Gates had yet another extremely quiet game, but he fortunately turned one of his three targets into a 34-yard touchdown reception. It came on a second half crossing route, and enabled him to break a tie with Hall of Famer Lance Alworth for the all-time record for most touchdown receptions by a Charger. He caught the pass in stride, and turned upfield to easily do the rest - even taunting the defender at the end of the run by looking back at him as he crossed the goal line. The defense was nowhere near him, and it was one of the few times Gates was able to gain any separation in the game. He didn't have a single catch in the first half, and his first reception didn't come until three minutes into the second half. That pass was thrown low and away from him, but he made a tough fingertip grab to haul it in. But the catches were obviously few and far between.
2012 Week 17 vs OAK (2 / 2 / 15 / 1 rec)
Gates at least closed out his worst statistical season since becoming a starter with a hot streak, scoring touchdowns in each of his final three games. The catch was a sliding, diving grab along the back corner of the end zone after coming out of the slot. He did a nice job of hanging onto the ball as he hit the ground. His earlier reception was similar in that he did a good job of securing the catch despite being hit by a defender just as the ball got there. Those were the only targets of the game for Gates.
2011 Week 1 vs MIN (13 / 8 / 74 / 0 rec)
For awhile in the first half, Gates was the only player on the Chargers seeing regular targets. The wide receivers were being blanketed in coverage, and Philip Rivers didn't have enough time to look very far downfield anyway. He nearly scored late on a bullet pass from Rivers that was thrown into tight coverage, but he couldn't hang on. It was unclear whether Gates just dropped the ball or whether the defender managed to pull it away from him. The Vikings learned in the second half that you can only contain Gates for so long before he eventually breaks free. He grabbed a sideline pass for a first down with nobody around him early in the fourth quarter. Then later, he converted a huge third and four to snag the ball out of mid-air for 13 yards over the middle with just over six minutes remaining. He appeared to be moving fluidly and smoothly, without any hints of any injury issues with his feet.
2011 Week 2 vs NE (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Gates had probably the quietest game of his pro career. He was being doubled in the early going, but it was still shocking to see that he didn't see his first target until four and a half minutes remained in the third quarter! And that first pass he did see come his way ended up getting intercepted. His second target didn't come until the first play of the fourth quarter and it did draw a 20-yard pass interference penalty to the five yard line, but that was the end of his action. He was shown briefly on the sideline and being checked out by the staff. He didn't look to be in terrible pain or anything, but it was serious enough to warrant an exit from the game.
2011 Week 7 vs NYJ (7 / 5 / 54 / 1 rec)
Gates' return to action couldn't have gone much better. He made a couple of tough grabs over the middle to convert first downs, and then scored his first touchdown of the 2011 season late in the first half. On the play, he made a very nice cut and plant off his left foot, shifting back to his right to get open in the corner of the end zone. The Jets defenders seemed to get a hand or two on or near the ball, but Gates maintained nice concentration to haul it in. He later drew a pass interference penalty at the goal line, showing quick feet to get the defender to lean on him. The San Diego offense was really a different animal with Gates in there as opposed to recent weeks, as Rivers finally had another outlet other than Vincent Jackson. Gates was noticeably quieter in the second half, though he did make a nice 17-yard catch and run with the defender hanging all over him. The key with Gates, as always, is how his feet respond the day AFTER the game.
2011 Week 8 vs KC (7 / 4 / 73 / 0 rec)
t seemed like Gates was on the TV a lot Monday night. He was either catching passes, or shown struggling with the suffocating double team the Chiefs were applying. He twice beat a safety across the field and found himself open for good sized gains. He made what would generally be considered a really nice play for a touchdown in single coverage but was called for a push off and the touchdown was taken away. This is not the kind of call that is usually made. Gates looked as fast as he has all year, and just missed another catch on the sideline when he couldn't get two feet down in bounds. Overall, Gates looked to be back to 100%, or as close as he'll ever get again.
2011 Week 9 vs GB (11 / 8 / 96 / 1 rec)
Gates had by far his best game of the season, looking an awful lot like the guy who terrorized secondaries over the past decade or so. He had a bad drop on an easy catch over the middle in the first half, but turned it around and completely dominated the second half. Somehow, Gates was consistently able to find holes in the defense and at one point it seemed like Philip Rivers only wanted to throw the ball to him and no one else. Gates did a great job getting separation off the line, which came in very handy on his touchdown reception. He took a quick out in the flat, turned upfield, and dove into the end zone for the score. He had had a chance for an earlier touchdown when he got open in the back of the end zone, but Rivers' pass sailed over him for an incompletion. Late in the game, Gates not only made key catches but also drew several crucial penalties to keep the chains moving and keep drives alive for San Diego, and he was moving just as well late in the game as he was in the early going.
2011 Week 10 vs OAK (6 / 5 / 54 / 0 rec)
Early on, the Chargers had a tough time getting their marquee players involved. Gates' first target wasn't until after the two minute warning in the second quarter, and he didn't really get regularly involved in the passing game until the second half. He had a couple of nice catch and run plays, one coming on a critical third down pass. He made a nice inside-out cut back to get to the outside and planted hard on his foot, suggesting that he's at least healthy. And he was able to run away from the defender, so he seems like he's moving fairly well. But Oakland just put clamps on both Gates and WR Vincent Jackson, stifling the San Diego passing game for most of the evening.
2011 Week 11 vs CHI (4 / 4 / 63 / 1 rec)
A designed screen pass on the Chargers first play of the game got Gates involved early, as he rumbled downfield for 18 yards on the play. Later in the half, he snagged a touchdown on a ball thrown away from his body. He reached up and plucked it out of the air, then managed to maintain possession throughout the catch. It looked like the ball was perhaps pushed out of his hands as he laid on the ground, but officials never reviewed it because he had already completed the process of the catch. Late in the first half, he made a great grab over the middle down the seam to help set up a long field goal try (which was missed). In the second half, Gates was unusually quiet with just one reception.
2011 Week 12 vs DEN (10 / 6 / 49 / 1 rec)
Despite the overall struggles of the San Diego offense (and particularly the passing game), Gates simply keeps plugging along. He again didn't break any huge gains, but he was clearly the go-to guy in every big spot the Chargers were in. He scored midway through the second quarter from close range as Philip Rivers found him over the middle while two Denver defenders trailed him on the play. In the second half, he showed nice hands in reaching out for a 17-yard snag over the middle to put the Chargers in the red zone. And in the overtime session, with San Diego facing a crucial third and four pass play, it was again Gates who was the target. He made a terrific grab on a pass thrown high and wide, snatching it out of the air and picking up the first down to keep the drive alive.
2011 Week 13 vs JAX (7 / 6 / 70 / 0 rec)
Gates was active with regularity, but two plays in particular stood out both on the positive end. He saved QB Philip Rivers from an early interception by getting in the way of two Jacksonville defenders in the middle of the field. As the two collided, the ball hit off their hands, and Gates tipped it to himself before grabbing it out of mid-air with one hand and running ahead for the first down gain. Later in the first half, he again showed great hands on a perfectly thrown fade pass that he reached out and grabbed after it passed over his shoulder along the sideline.
2011 Week 14 vs BUF (9 / 7 / 68 / 2 rec)
Gates' remarkable in-season renaissance continued in this game, as he caught a game high seven balls for 68 yards and a pair of touchdowns. At times, Gates appeared to be once again toying with the defense. Both of his touchdown grabs were seemingly too easy, as no defender even managed to get so much as a hand on him as he ran his route and he caught both balls wide open. He did most of his damage over the middle of the field and still seems to be running very smoothly and freely without any signs of trouble from his historically worrisome feet.
2011 Week 15 vs BAL (2 / 2 / 31 / 0 rec)
Gates entered the game four receptions shy of former WR Charlie Joiner for the all-time Charger lead in receptions. His first catch of the game came early in the second quarter on a short crossing route. He then grabbed another one, but didn't manage another catch the remainder of the game. He never really came close to scoring, although on one play the formation made it look like he would. Gates was lined up in single coverage right at the goal line near the right side of the formation, but QB Philip Rivers called a timeout. Upon returning to the field, the formation called for a handoff to the running back up the middle.
2011 Week 16 vs DET (6 / 4 / 40 / 0 rec)
Gates was the most-involved player for San Diego in the first half, as most of the other receivers were having a lot of trouble getting separation. Gates, however, showed he doesn't need much separation to make catches. Just throw it near him and he'll make the play, which was what he did on a fourth down pass play in the second half. Using a quick in and out move and with a defender hanging all over him, Gates picked up the first down on a fourth and five pass play to keep a drive alive. Most notably, that reception moved him past Charlie Joiner on the Chargers all-time list for career receptions. He had very nearly broken the record in dramatic fashion earlier with a highlight reel catch earlier. Rivers floated one over the defender, which Gates reached out for and snagged with just one hand, but the play was negated by a San Diego holding penalty. Gates was targeted just once in the end zone on a fade pattern to the corner that had no chance of being completed because he slipped and fell down coming out of his break.
2011 Week 17 vs OAK (5 / 5 / 106 / 1 rec)
Gates did the majority of his damage in the first half, but compiled enough to go over 100 receiving yards for the first time all season long. It started when he got loose in the secondary down the seam. Rivers found him perfectly in stride as the defender fell down during Gates' route. The big tight end did the rest, rumbling for a 38-yard score. He later streaked down the sideline for a 37-yard pickup, as Oakland had seemingly no answer for how to contain him. He was able to get open at will, and perhaps the only reason he didn't have even more production is because WR Malcom Floyd was also able to get open at will and he was able to do it further down the field.
2010 Week 1 vs KC (6 / 5 / 76 / 1 rec)
Gates was nearly unstoppable early on during week 1 catching a variety of passes from Philip Rivers. However as the game progressed Gates saw more double teams and was largely quiet as Rivers only targeted him twice in the 2nd half. He still finished tied for the team lead in receptions and managed to reel in a TD catch. Gates still looks the part of an elite TE and should once again lead SD in targets, catches, and yards in 2010.
2010 Week 2 vs JAX (7 / 5 / 57 / 2 rec)
Gates was absolutely dominant in the game, though his stats don't necessarily jump off the page at you. He pretty much did whatever he wanted whenever he wanted, despite being double teamed for much of the afternoon. His two scores were relatively short grabs, one wide open over the middle and the other a quick out in the end zone. He also reached a couple of historic milestones, moving into seventh place all-time in tight end receiving yardage and also tying Shannon Sharpe for second all-time in tight end touchdown receptions. His long gain of the game went for 26 yards on a crossing route over the middle on which he beat yet another double team. About the only blemish on his game was when he allowed a pass to bounce off his hands in the end zone and into the waiting arms of a defender for the interception.
2010 Week 3 vs SEA (13 / 7 / 109 / 1 rec)
Gates started off extremely slowly, almost nonexistent, with just one short reception in the entire first half. The fact that he finished up leading all players in receptions and yardage for the game, then, shows just how dominant he was in the second half. He had a big gain to kick off the third quarter for 28 yards, and that wasn't even close to his most impressive play. He made an incredible one-handed catch by pinning the ball against his leg, then cradling it in and pulling it up to his chest by balancing the ball between his hand and his thigh. He should have had another big gain one play later, but he pulled up on his route over the middle. Not to worry, he soon added a diving first down catch and then eventually a score. On the play prior to the score, he demonstrated excellent concentration in hauling in a deflected pass in the corner of the end zone for the touchdown. However, a flag negated that touchdown. So on the very next play, Rivers went right back to Gates for the score and this time it counted. Later on, he was wide open along the sideline for another big gain. Amazingly, despite the absence of standout WR Vincent Jackson this season, Gates has seemingly had very little trouble getting open even in the deep secondary. About the only negatives for him on this day were 1) He allowed a pass to bounce off his fingertips and into the arms of a defender for an interception, and 2) He slipped in the end zone on the last-gasp drive and fell down on what could have been the game-tying interception. The defender had good positioning, so it's unlikely Gates would have scored anyway.
2010 Week 4 vs ARI (7 / 7 / 144 / 2 rec)
Somehow, Antonio Gates continues to amaze. Even with the absence of standout wide receiver Vincent Jackson, Gates is still finding ways to get open. Gates recorded the 500th reception of his illustrious career, becoming the seventh tight end to reach that mark. And after two more touchdown receptions, only Tony Gonzalez has more tight end scores in league history (Gates has scored at least one touchdown a whopping eight games in a row). For some reason, Arizona opted to try and single cover Gates. For the teams unaware, they are quickly going to learn that you can't do that. If a player is fast enough to cover Gates, they probably aren't big enough and he'll just box them out on receptions. And if they're big enough, he'll probably just run by them on his way to the end zone (as he did to Paris Lenon in this game). Gates so thoroughly dominated this game that his teammates had just nine receptions and 97 total yards with no scores, as opposed to Gates' 7-144-2 stat line. The future Hall of Famer has shown absolutely no signs of slowing down, and scarily for opposing defenses he actually appears to be getting even better.
2010 Week 5 vs OAK (7 / 5 / 92 / 1 rec)
Gates had a number of very nice catches in this game, but his real contribution came when the he ran downfield, and 3 chargers would be focused on stopping him. He had a great catch in traffic down the seam for a touchdown early in the game, and even made an OAK CB look ridiculous in coverage on an out route. A very workman like game for Gates, as he made his contributions every so often, but really opened up the field for his teammates and Rivers.
2010 Week 6 vs STL (3 / 2 / 12 / 0 rec)
Prior to this game, not a lot had gone wrong for Gates this season. In this game, however, just about nothing went right. He was shaken up early on while blocking for RB Ryan Mathews when he had a defender roll up the back of his leg. He briefly left the game, and came back in looking no worse for wear. He then caught two short passes before a very costly drop over the middle. Rivers found him down the seam with a perfect bullet pass, but Gates was unable to hang onto the football which cost him a potentially long gain. But the real reason it was so costly is because after the play, Gates again had a defender roll up on his ankle. That one knocked him from the game for good, and we'll provide you with updates this week as news becomes available regarding his status going forward.
2010 Week 7 vs NE (5 / 4 / 50 / 1 rec)
For the first three and a half quarter, it appeared as if Gates was playing the role of very ineffective decoy for the San Diego passing game. He wasn't even being targeted, let alone catching balls. His first reception and target ended up coming about halfway through the fourth quarter, a crossing route that was San Diego's first touchdown of the game. As if to prove that wasn't a fluke, he soon added a 26 yard slant on the ensuing possession. He later dropped a potential touchdown in the end zone when the ball bounced off his facemask and was stripped away by the defender. On the Chargers' final offensive play of the game, Gates showed great hands in reaching down for a low throw. He turned upfield for eight yards, putting the team two yards shy of a first down. On the fourth down play, they opted to attempt a field goal, which ended up no good.
2010 Week 8 vs TEN (7 / 5 / 123 / 1 rec)
Gates continued his historic season in this game, dominating the Tennessee defense despite being one of the only experienced weapons in the passing game. He was clearly the go-to guy for Philip Rivers, particularly on third downs, and showed no ill effects from the ankle injury suffered several weeks ago. He made a one-handed snag on a delayed screen, turning it upfield for a 33-yard gain inside the ten yard line. Late in the game, Rivers hit him perfectly in stride for a 48-yard touchdown. There was a defender in the vicinity, but all he was able to grab was a handful of Gates' towel as the big tight end waltzed into the end zone for yet another score. On a late third and long pass play, Gates was again looked to in a crucial spot and once again came up with the catch. The CBS commentators couldn't believe how easily Gates was able to get open despite all the attention that should be paid to him. It's at the point where we have run out of superlatives to describe Gates' performance this season. He's simply outplaying everyone else on the field, in every possible way.
2010 Week 12 vs IND (4 / 4 / 46 / 0 rec)
Most people didn't expect Gates to suit up for this game considering the painful injuries he has endured. Based on how Gates looked early on, he didn't look to be long for this game either. He basically limped off the line and made about the softest cut of his entire career while running a route. But in the second half, he made his first reception within the first few minutes. He then showed great hands down near the goal line with the defender hanging all over him. Gates just looked more comfortable in the second half, running smoother and making enough strides to be able to fight for yardage after the catch. He came close to scoring when he caught a pass out in the flat near the two yard line but was dragged down short of the goal. He got up and looked to be in pain, but as he has been doing for the entire season he just kept fighting through it.
2010 Week 13 vs OAK (6 / 6 / 73 / 1 rec)
Gates was banged-up and wasn't expected to play, but he was in the game from the outset and showing no ill effects early on. He was in and out of the game for a bit, and at one point was seen tying his shoes on the bench. Soon after, however, he hauled in a 24-yard pass play down the sideline and showing his usual terrific hands. At one point, he made an outstanding cut-back over the middle that completely faked out his defender. As has been the case in recent weeks, Gates appeared to get stronger as the game progressed. He made a nice one-handed grab on the run over the middle and looked to be moving pretty well. Gates added a touchdown on a simple corner route late in the game as he broke free of the defense and somehow found himself wide open in the corner. Late in the game with the Chargers in desperation mode, he made two big grabs over the middle with Oakland seemingly backed off a bit.
2009 Week 1 vs OAK (9 / 5 / 83 / 0 rec)
Gates clearly has his burst and explosiveness back after being hampered with a toe injury last year. He was a great downfield target all night, and he took advantage of soft spots in the deep middle of the Raiders defense. With the Chargers looking like a passing team, he should continue to occupy his typical place in the top 3 fantasy TEs. Gates will get plenty of targets, and he looks like he's in great condition to maximize their value.
2009 Week 2 vs BAL (7 / 5 / 78 / 0 rec)
Antonio Gates was very involved in the gameplan, coming up with a long reception down the seam in the first half and a big fourth down grab later in the half. On the long reception, he fumbled as he was hit from behind when he tried making a move to get to the end zone, but it was recovered by the Chargers. He was later targeted in the end zone in the fourth quarter, but the pass was thrown too high and sailed over his head for an incompletion.
2009 Week 3 vs MIA (7 / 5 / 64 / 0 rec)
Gates had a solid game, but he appears to be settling into his role as the number two option in the passing game for this team (with Vincent Jackson having ascended to number one status). He showed good hands on a catch over the middle and made a key third down grab over the middle with about ten minutes to play to keep the chains moving, but he never really came close to scoring or breaking any huge plays.
2009 Week 4 vs PIT (12 / 9 / 124 / 2 rec)
San Diego's offense (and Philip Rivers production for the most part) went as Antonio Gates did on Sunday night. When he was double covered SD's offense sputtered and was largely ineffective. When he was able to get open under less coverage Gates simply ate up the Steelers defense over the middle. Overall he had a huge night catching 9 passes and 2 TD's. Gates was quiet in the 1st half as he was focused on heavily by the Pitt def and was rarely open. In the 2nd half, Gates was able to break loose on a couple of nice catches, one of which was a leaping play in traffic where Rivers put the ball where only Gates could have gotten it. His strong 2nd half flurry was capped by a short TD catch late in the 3rd and then a tremendous effort on a 30 yd TD catch in the 4th in which Gates eluded several defenders and ran threw a couple more on his way to the end zone. On the next drive, Gates continued to be targeted often by Rivers catching a short pass in traffic and then drawing a long pass interference penalty exploiting down field coverage by James Harrison which setup the final San Diego TD. Easily the best game of the season thus far for the Pro-Bowl TE, he remains one of the best TE options in fantasy football today.
2009 Week 6 vs DEN (9 / 5 / 70 / 0 rec)
Gates was working the underneath routes for the Chargers, and did a nice job of getting open on jerk routes throughout the game. He even hauled in a jump pass from Philip Rivers over the middle of the defense which put the Chargers inside the Broncos 10-yard line. The Chargers were trying to exploit the Broncos linebackers in coverage, and early on they were having success. As the game wore on, the Denver pass rush was simply too much for the Chargers to handle and the coverage on Gates was much tighter.
2009 Week 7 vs KC (6 / 5 / 55 / 0 rec)
Gates came on strong early, but like most of the team, he didn't do as much after halftime. He took a short screen off play action and took it 25 yards down to the two yard line. He showed nice moves and strength to get downfield, but there might have been even better blocking on the play than Gates' own moves. Two plays later, he was targeted in the end zone on a fade and drew a pass interference penalty. Late in the second half, he went up high to snag a 19 yard pass to set up the Chargers at the five yard line. His basketball skills came in handy as he boxed out the defender for the football, but it was really his only action of the second half as the team went to a more run-oriented, ball control approach. He saw one more target in the end zone but the ball was somewhat underthrown by Rivers, and Gates was unable to maintain his footing on the play. He could have caught the pass, but he couldn't keep himself inbounds long enough to do so and it fell incomplete.
2009 Week 8 vs OAK (6 / 3 / 49 / 0 rec)
Gates isn't putting up the huge stats we've grown accustomed to over the years, but a lot of that has to do with the emergence of WRs Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd. Gates is still doing what's needed of him when his number is called. If it seems as if there's always someone open for San Diego, that's because there usually is. On one of those very plays, Gates took a swing pass in the left flat and sprinted up the sideline for a big gain after the catch. The play went for thirty yards and helped set up Tomlinson's second score of the game. He did have an issue with a pass along the sideline late in the game that he was unable to haul in because the sun was in his eyes, but he more than made up for that with a tough grab over the middle despite being drilled by Michael Huff. It resulted in a big first down and kept the chains moving as San Diego tried running out as much of the clock as they could.
2009 Week 9 vs NYG (8 / 5 / 67 / 0 rec)
Gates had typically strong numbers for a TE, but he had two uncharacteristically bad drops that kept him from having a 100-yard day - including one when he just took his eyes off the ball like a rookie. The Giants had a lot of trouble covering him and keeping track of him, but it's no surprise that defensive end Justin Tuck couldn't cover Gates on a red zone catch in the first half.
2009 Week 10 vs PHI (8 / 7 / 78 / 0 rec)
Gates was heavily involved right from the outset, mirroring what a number of other tight ends will look to do against the Eagles' depleted linebacking corps. Gates was the main beneficiary of the constant blitzing by Philadelphia, as Rivers needed to check down to the underneath receivers like Gates and Naanee rather than looking downfield to Vincent Jackson or Malcom Floyd. Gates did drop another pass, but he caught his share and moved well enough after the catch to pick up some nice yardage totals. Unfortunately, he doesn't appear to be much of a red zone threat these days, and that was again the case in this game.
2009 Week 11 vs DEN (4 / 3 / 41 / 0 rec)
Gates didn't register his first catch of the game until the middle of the third quarter, though he did break free down the seam early in the game for what would have been a long gain - if the pass hadn't been batted down at the line of scrimmage, that is. Gates was the beneficiary of a long 24-yard reception off a flea flicker that he took down to the three yard line. Initially, it appeared as if Gates had fought his way into the end zone, but officials correctly ruled that he had stepped out of bounds at the three yard line prior to getting in. Gates has been an almost non-factor in the red zone this season, so it would appear that for him to find the end zone the rest of the way, it is going to have to come on plays similar to that one.
2009 Week 12 vs KC (7 / 7 / 118 / 2 rec)
Gates had by far his best game of the season against Kansas City. It started very early on, as he reached up and snatched a ball out of mid-air over the middle for a nice gain to display his excellent hands. Later in the quarter, he hauled one in over the middle that went for a score. He initially juggled the pass to kind of corral it and gain control, and once in his possession he took off up the middle for the touchdown. All afternoon, he had very little trouble getting open over the middle. In fact, he nearly had a second score for a big gain had he not been just tripped up from behind. Fortunately for him, he wasn't done producing and he did get that second score, taking a reception at the goal line and fighting in for the final few yards to paydirt. In the second half, it was more of the same as he went over 100 yards when there was still nine minutes remaining in the third quarter. His last high impact play of the game was when he drew a pass interference penalty in the end zone that helped set up yet another scoring chance.
2009 Week 13 vs CLE (9 / 8 / 167 / 0 rec)
Gates had one of the best days of his career in this game, hauling in eight catches for 167 yards. While he didn't get into the end zone, he did everything he could to put the team in position to do so. He showed terrific hands on a number of catches, going over the middle on a 22 yard grab and again at the eight yard line to snatch one out of the air for 18. He also showed great ability after the catch, twice stopping on a dime to cut back and shake the defenders free. The toe injury he suffered several years ago seemed to have robbed him of his moves for awhile, but lately those quick cuts have been more and more prevalent in his game. He capped his afternoon with two terrific catches in double teamed traffic. On the first, he did a nice job of adjusting his body in traffic to locate the ball before either defender could, and on the second one he leapt to grab the jump ball over both defenders on a 56 yard bomb downfield.
2009 Week 14 vs DAL (5 / 4 / 44 / 1 rec)
Gates was quiet early on, with just a short grab over the middle in the first half. But late in the game, he was the recipient of Philip Rivers' only touchdown pass of the game, a crossing route that he picked and waltzed into the end zone for the easy score.
2009 Week 15 vs CIN (8 / 4 / 33 / 1 rec)
Gates looked primed for another monstrous game early on. He was targeted in the back of the end zone by Rivers, but the pass was knocked away at the last second. So on the very next play, Rivers went back to him and they connected for the score. Later in the half, Gates made a nice leaping grab in traffic over the middle. He also showed some terrific one on one moves after the catch to beat several defenders for a first down. He was cutting on a dime, and he has been a lot better at quick, lateral movements lately. As if to emphasize that point, he caught a short pass in the flat and turned in a nice spin move to get out of yet another tackle. But Gates' involvement really dwindled after halftime. His most significant contribution was actually a negative play, as he had a critical drop of a pass that was in fairness thrown a bit behind him. The ball bounced around for a bit and was eventually intercepted off the deflection, leading to a Cincinnati touchdown.
2009 Week 16 vs TEN (5 / 3 / 74 / 1 rec)
Antonio Gates worked the middle portion of the field well against the Titans in Week 16, catching two balls for gains over 30 yards at a clip in the second and third quarters. Gates started slow on the night with a short catch of just six yards but then was the intended receiver on a halfback option pass by LaDainian Tomlinson in the end zone but the throw was too far out the back of the end zone. Gates broke free on a busted play in the second quarter as Philip Rivers scrambled and barely stayed behind the line of scrimmage as he found Gates for an easy 36-yard touchdown. Gates had just one target in the second half, a nice 32-yard gain along the right numbers.
2009 Week 17 vs WAS (4 / 1 / 12 / 1 rec)
Gates got free downfield repeatedly early, but it took Rivers three shots to finally find him. The connection came in the red zone and Gates scored on a corner route that was thrown with ideal touch by Rivers.
2009 Week 19 vs NYJ (11 / 8 / 93 / 0 rec)
Gates had a big game, constantly getting open almost at will. Multiple times he was able to use his big frame to shield off defenders with a basketball "box out" technique. He found lots of room over the middle, and really seemed to be giving the Chargers a decided advantage in the passing game. He made an exceptional one-handed snag of a lob thrown over his head and picked up several yards after the catch. It wasn't the kind of one-handed catch that gets juggled and bobbled before being corralled, either. It was a straight pick out of the air with one hand. His hands weren't as great late in the game as he dropped one in the open field when he tried to run before the catch, but made up for it soon after with a nice gain on a catch and run.
2008 Week 1 vs CAR (6 / 4 / 61 / 1 rec)
Despite 61 yards receiving and a touchdown, Gates had a very uneven performance. On the one hand, no one is going to complain about 61 yards and a score from their starting tight end. On the other hand, it's got to be a concern that Gates was in and out of the lineup all game. He added a bruised hip to his already injured toe. It's also a bit worrisome that he saw just six of the 27 passes Philip Rivers threw in this game. As long as he does a lot with his passing targets, no one will mind. But typically, players aren't able to put up 12.1 fantasy points on a regular basis when they're seeing such little action.
2008 Week 2 vs DEN (6 / 4 / 61 / 0 rec)
It could just be that Gates is still at less than 100%, but after two games it appears that the Chargers are focusing more on getting the ball into the hands of the wide receivers than they are to Gates. He's still an integral part of this offense, but his contributions may be more quality than quantity, at least for the time being. He was targeted just once deep down the field, and the pass was nowhere within reach for him. He also wasn't thrown to once down near the end zone, typically a staple of Gates' game.
2008 Week 3 vs NYJ (4 / 2 / 25 / 1 rec)
Gates caught his first pass of the game on a six yard touchdown pass late in the first half. It was his only catch of the first half. He would catch one more pass in the second half for 19 yards.
2008 Week 4 vs OAK (7 / 5 / 58 / 1 rec)
Gates just keeps on plugging along, this time putting up another solid effort of 58 yards and a touchdown. With the production of both Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson a bit sporadic to open the season, Gates has re-established himself as San Diego's go to guy.
2008 Week 5 vs MIA (4 / 1 / 12 / 0 rec)
In one of the quietest games of his career, Gates caught a short pass in the first half on his only target before halftime. His other three targets came in the second half, but none of them were all that close to being completed. And in fact, that first catch shouldn't have even counted because replays showed that Gates clearly dropped the ball as he was diving to the turf to catch it. However, since the play came on third down and the Chargers were punting anyway, Miami HC Tony Sparano elected to not use one of his challenges.
2008 Week 6 vs NE (5 / 4 / 35 / 1 rec)
Despite scoring a short touchdown, Gates' evening could've been a lot better. He dropped a sure seven yard touchdown in the flat on the one yard line during San Diego's opening possession. The defender wasn't close to him; it was simply a matter of turning towards the end zone too quickly. As mentioned, he did add a one yard score in the second half that helped put the game out of reach, but was largely quiet outside of that.
2008 Week 7 vs BUF (7 / 4 / 55 / 0 rec)
Gates was targeted twice in the end zone, though he came up empty on both occasions. On the second one, he was well-covered but QB Philip Rivers tried forcing it into a tight space. LB Kawika Mitchell, who wasn't even covering Gates, stepped in front of the pass and picked it off at the goal line. Gates still managed to turn in a workmanlike performance with 55 yards receiving, continuing an interesting pattern of low-end consistency. It was the fourth time this season he has caught exactly four passes for between 55 and 61 yards.
2008 Week 8 vs NO (7 / 6 / 96 / 1 rec)
Gates really looked like himself for the first time this season. While most San Diego receivers had extremely quiet first halves, Gates had four receptions and a score before the end of the first half. He put up two more receptions in the second half, including a critical fourth down reception when San Diego was attempting to tie the game. The touchdown grab was a very nice grab along the sideline. He barely managed to keep his feet in on the play, but he was clearly in. That wasn't even his best catch of the game; his best catch would be the tremendous leaping snag late in the first quarter when he leaped high in the air and snatched the ball away from several defenders. The Saints looked unable to hang with Gates, who beat their defenders off the line and down the field at will. He appeared to be fully healthy, and looks poised to have a big second half now that he is back to form.
2008 Week 10 vs KC (10 / 8 / 66 / 1 rec)
Much like fellow tight end Tony Gonzalez did in the first half, Gates used the second half as his own personal show. He consistently got open downfield, hauling in six second half passes (including a touchdown). By forcing the Chiefs to account for him, it took extra pressure off of QB Philip Rivers and opened up passing lanes to other receivers.
2008 Week 11 vs PIT (5 / 2 / 10 / 0 rec)
Gates had one of the quietest games of his career, and failed to catch a single pass after halftime. He was targeted in the end zone on a corner fade, but the pass should have actually been thrown short. The defender was behind Gates and if the route had been a quick stop or a curl, he'd have likely beaten his man very easily.
2008 Week 12 vs IND (4 / 3 / 28 / 0 rec)
Gates' first catch came near the start of the second quarter and went for a pickup of 13 yards. His second catch didn't come until just over three minutes were remaining in the third quarter and went for a gain of nine. Gates final catch of the game came in the fourth quarter and went for six yards.
2008 Week 13 vs ATL (7 / 3 / 27 / 0 rec)
Gates was active early on, catching two passes on the team's opening possession (though he did also drop a pass on that same drive). He virtually disappeared after that, catching just one ball the rest of the game and only being thrown to once after halftime. The announcers speculated that Gates may have been injured at some point, suggesting that he didn't look to be moving very well and lacking a burst out of his cuts. They also said he was limping around at times.
2008 Week 14 vs OAK (2 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
For the first time in 80 games, Gates failed to register a single reception. It couldn't have come at a much worse time for Gates owners, being the first week of the fantasy playoffs in most leagues. It wasn't entirely Gates' fault, however, as the Chargers simply didn't need him much. They were up 10-0 by the end of the first quarter and 27-7 by halftime thanks to two long catches by Vincent Jackson and two short screen passes to Darren Sproles. Gates was thrown to once in the end zone, but it was sort of a desperation pass by Philip Rivers on third down very early on. Last week, commentators discussed Gates as possibly having injured himself late in the game. He didn't look to be visibly hobbled any in this game; it seemed to be more a case of San Diego taking the air out of the ball very early on.
2008 Week 15 vs KC (10 / 7 / 78 / 0 rec)
Gates was a very busy man for the better part of three quarters, but was quieter in the fourth quarter as San Diego focused on getting the ball to the receivers more. His long catch and run on the game's first play from scrimmage suggested the Chargers were going to make a conscious effort to get him the football one week after he failed to catch a single pass. He responded with his best game in weeks, though it could have been far better. He dropped a long pass down the sideline early in the fourth quarter that would have put him up over 100 yards for the afternoon. He may have been thrown to once more later in the fourth quarter, but it was tough to tell. Philip Rivers was rolling to his left and fired a pass into the end zone. Gates thought the ball was intended for him and he lunged to make the play, but it was out of his reach. WR Malcolm Floyd slid into the picture from the back line of the end zone to make the diving reception for the score instead.
2008 Week 16 vs TB (5 / 4 / 43 / 2 rec)
Gates didn't compile huge numbers, but he did record three of the most important and most difficult receptions of the afternoon. Early in the second quarter, QB Philip Rivers was flushed from the pocket. While rolling out to his left, Gates made his way across the back line of the end zone while moving in tandem with Rivers. The pass was hoisted up over the front line of the defense but low enough for Gates to haul it in. He did so while managing to keep his feet just inbounds for the touchdown. Late in the third quarter, Rivers found him in the flat on a screen pass. Rather than catching the ball the conventional way with two hands, Gates snatched the ball out of the air with one hand. He didn't even bother securing it with his other hand because he managed to get it under complete control with just the one. That play helped set up his fourth quarter touchdown reception, a play on which he reached behind CB Philip Buchanon to make a very nice grab of a touchdown. That score gave the Chargers a lead they would never relinquish. The first touchdown was the 50th of Gates' career in just his 92nd career game. He broke Jerry Smith's league record for the fastest tight end to reach fifty career scores. Smith had done it in 100 games.
2008 Week 17 vs DEN (3 / 3 / 49 / 0 rec)
Gates left the game with an apparent minor injury, but looked solid while he was out there. He caught all three passes thrown his way and still gives opposing teams fits with his skill set.
2008 Week 18 vs IND (9 / 8 / 87 / 0 rec)
Gates started off the game on fire, with five receptions prior to halftime (he was, in fact, the only San Diego player with a reception until the 6:04 mark of the second quarter). On one of his early receptions in the second quarter, he was headed for the end zone with nothing but room in front of him. But with defenders gaining ground, he turned to try and fight them off rather than continuing to run straight ahead. If he had kept on running, he may have scored. But turning around to stiff arm the defense slowed him down considerably, and he ended up being tackled at the three yard line. Then just as quickly as he showed up, he just about disappeared from the action. The Chargers suddenly took to the ground, utilizing undersized RB Darren Sproles in a number of ways. Gates didn't have another reception until the final drive of the fourth quarter, when he turned in back to back eleven yard receptions to help get San Diego into field goal range for the tying kick. In overtime, Gates caught a short pass and turned upfield to pick up eight hard-fought yards on a second and eight play. He actually fumbled the ball while trying to pick up extra yardage, but fortunately for him he landed right on it and pinned the ball to the turf with his back. He finished with a game high eight receptions.
2008 Week 19 vs PIT (6 / 5 / 59 / 0 rec)
Gates put up stats that were, for him, very marginal. He opened up with a 21 yard reception on the first play from scrimmage but was fairly quiet after that. He finished with 59 yards, meaning he had just 38 more after that first initial reception. There have been far more instances than ever before this season where Gates disappears from the offense for longs stretches of time, and this afternoon's game was the latest example.
2007 Week 1 vs CHI (12 / 9 / 107 / 1 rec)
The Bears had very little defense for Gates. Despite being targeted on nearly half of the team's receptions, the Bears almost seemed to lose track of where he was at times. It wasn't as if he was making spectacular catch after spectacular catch. The vast majority of his receptions were open slants and crosses over the middle where he not only made the catch but also had some room to run after the catch. He had a big third down conversion reception in the third quarter, and it came as no surprise because at the time he was really the only reliable option on offense for San Diego (Tomlinson included). The touchdown reception was a designed halfback rollout pass from Tomlinson to Gates, and it was executed to perfection by both players. Gates went over 100 yards early in the fourth quarter before San Diego kind of put the clamps on its own offense and grinded it out.
2007 Week 2 vs NE (8 / 7 / 77 / 1 rec)
Gates was the lone bright spot for the Chargers, catching seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. Without much help from the wide receivers, however, he couldn't do it alone.
2007 Week 3 vs GB (13 / 11 / 113 / 0 rec)
Early on, it looked like it might be a quick exit for Gates. On his first reception, he was hit awkwardly and came up grimacing and shaking his hand. On the sideline, he appeared to be in pain while trying to squeeze the trainer's hand, and he looked thoroughly uncomfortable while playing catch. But he simply had his right hand wrapped heavily, came back out on the field, and absolutely dominated. He was unstoppable, catching passes in the slot, over the middle, on the sidelines. At one point, Rivers threw five passes in a row to Gates and nine of eleven passes overall. Astoundingly, Gates caught his first nine targets of the game as the Packers had absolutely no answers for him. While he only had two second half receptions, each was a spectacular grab that demonstrated his incredible athleticism. One was a shoestring grab on an out route, and the second was even better as he reached down and in front of the defender to haul in a key third down reception. In other words, feel free to continue using Gates as your starting tight end without hesitation.
2007 Week 4 vs KC (10 / 6 / 79 / 0 rec)
Gates started with a bang, hauling in a 27 yard pass on his first target of the game. Unfortunately for him, that was by far his biggest play of the game. It's not that the team didn't look for him; it was just that the team didn't look for him regularly. He went long stretches of time between seeing the ball thrown his way, and despite his solid receiving totals the Chiefs actually did a very good job in containing him for the most part.
2007 Week 5 vs DEN (7 / 7 / 113 / 1 rec)
Through five games, Gates is on pace to shatter records for the tight end position. At times, it simply appears as if he's uncoverable. After LaDainian Tomlinson's record breaking season a year ago, teams are making a concerted effort to ensure that Tomlinson won't be the one to beat them. In order to do that, they are committing an extra linebacker or two to the running game, which is allowing Gates to roam free back and forth across the field all game long. Most of his receptions came on crosses over the middle, and that was both before AND after CB Champ Bailey left with an injury. Gates scored on a TE screen on the opening drive of the third quarter. The play was a great individual effort by Gates, who shook off one would-be tackler at the five yard line before diving in past two more at the goal line. Gates had very nearly scored earlier in the game, but was tackled down at the two yard line on a pass from Philip Rivers. Rivers scored on the next play.
2007 Week 6 vs OAK (4 / 3 / 58 / 0 rec)
For the first time all season, Gates didn't reward his owners with a monster game. But if 58 yards is considered an off game, I'm sure his owners will sign up for that. He was thrown to once in the end zone on a fade pass, but he had a defender all over him that broke up the pass at the last moment. Gates' big play came early in the second half. While being defended by Michael Huff, Gates screened off the defender on a simple out route, spun, and turned it upfield for a big 28 yard gain. While Gates wasn't as heavily involved in the passing game as in recent weeks, that doesn't mean he didn't play a role. On one particular play, he lined up in the backfield as a fullback and sprung a key block that allowed Tomlinson to pick up about five to eight extra yards.
2007 Week 8 vs HOU (3 / 3 / 92 / 2 rec)
Gates was only thrown to three times all game long, but he made them all count. His first catch of the game was simply a situation of blown coverage by Houston. Gates ran a simple in route down the seam and somehow everyone on the Texans defense forgot to account for him. The pass from Rivers was actually a duck, wobbling in the air the entire time as Gates had to wait for what seemed like an eternity for the pass to finally drop out of the sky. But when it did, he was so far beyond the defense that he still scored easily. His second reception took a little more work, as he quickly cut to the inside on a slant to lose the first defender. He then juked at the one yard line (perhaps unnecessarily) before lunging in at the last second and barely putting the football over the goal line for the score. The only reason he had 92 yards is because the Chargers didn't need to throw it very often. It seemed as if Gates could have gotten as many yards as he wanted to out there.
2007 Week 9 vs MIN (6 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)
Gates was thrown to until late in the second quarter, and didn't record his first reception until late in the third quarter. The Vikings did a terrific job of getting pressure up the middle on Philip Rivers, which in turn meant he couldn't look over the middle for his favorite target. The lack of several other weapons on offense (Malcom Floyd, Craig Davis) may have played a part as well, as more attention was paid to Gates than usual. Despite the worst stats of his career, Gates still nearly salvaged the day for fantasy owners on the last drive of the game. Though he came up short, Gates actually had his hands on a pass in the end zone. Unfortunately for him, the ball was ripped away at the last moment. On the next play, Gates got free along the back line of the end zone as Rivers floated a pass for him. But CB Cedric Griffin leapt up and batted the ball away from Gates on what would have been a sure touchdown.
2007 Week 10 vs IND (7 / 3 / 26 / 0 rec)
As usual Antonio Gates was the primary receiving option for Philip Rivers, though was only targeted six times in this game. He finished with three receptions for 26 yards, all three going for first downs. Rivers looked to Gates at crucial points of the game, but never any deeper than short or intermediate passes, mostly over the middle. With the Colts gaining some momentum in the fourth quarter, Gates was targeted on a short pass over the middle which he dropped, but the ball was tipped up in the air and intercepted by Clint Session.
2007 Week 11 vs JAX (9 / 4 / 54 / 1 rec)
Gates was fairly quiet for much of this game and had just three receptions for 31 yards late in the fourth quarter. But he rebounded later in the contest and salvaged his stat line with a 24 yard touchdown strike from Rivers with just over five minutes remaining in the game. He could have scored earlier on a fade pass from Rivers near the goal line, but he was jammed a bit at the line and didn't get off into his route cleanly. The pass from Rivers sailed to the far left corner of the end zone, just out of the reach of the lunging Gates (who was open, but got to the spot a bit late).
2007 Week 12 vs BAL (8 / 6 / 105 / 2 rec)
Gates had a great game. He led the team in all receiving stats, and caught two wide open passes that he ran in for touchdowns. It was his best fantasy performance of the season.
2007 Week 13 vs KC (2 / 1 / -1 / 0 rec)
Coming one week after perhaps his best statistical game of the season, Gates had the worst statistical game of his career. Some of it could have had something to do with the fact that San Diego opted to run the ball almost exclusively after halftime, but the fact remains that Gates was rarely seen in the passing game and wasn't a consideration once the Chargers got the lead. He was targeted deep in the end zone on a flea-flicker pass that went into double coverage and had almost no chance of being caught anyway, and that was pretty much the extent of any excitement for his day.
2007 Week 14 vs TEN (10 / 6 / 57 / 1 rec)
Gates gave his owners and the Chargers quite a scare early on. He tried making a tough leaping grab near the sideline early in the second quarter, and had his leg bent upwards at the hip at a very awkward angle. The play didn't seem to injure his leg, however, as it seemingly bent his back out of shape. He was seen trying to stretch it and get it worked out on the sideline, but his return didn't look too promising. Well, not only did he return - he flourished. Gates finished with a game high six receptions for 57 yards and the game-tying touchdown on a jump ball with just thirteen second remaining in regulation. He did appear to be moving a bit slower at times, and if he were being covered by a top safety he may not have had the success he did. Additionally, one never knows how a player will respond to an injury overnight. But for this game at least, Gates didn't allow the injury to affect his play on the field.
2007 Week 15 vs DET (4 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
Gates, who was a game-time decision, started and looked fine as he moved around. But he was in and out of the contest on several occasions, likely due to his back still being a bit sore from the prior injury he had. He didn't catch his first pass until the second half, although he came quite a bit closer to having a productive game than it would appear. He made a nice adjustment in mid-air on a pass early in the game in the end zone. He got his hands on it, juggle it a bit, and got his hands on it again as he fell to the ground. But as he hit the turf, the ball was jarred loose for an incompletion. It would have been a very tough catch in traffic, but it was still a catch the sure-handed Gates typically makes. He later had a pass from Rivers go through his hands at the ten yard line for what would have been at least a 23 yard reception and quite possibly a 33 yard touchdown. Again, it wouldn't have been an easy catch - but it was certainly a play that one would expect a healthy Gates to make.
2007 Week 16 vs DEN (3 / 1 / 24 / 0 rec)
Gates continued his curiously quiet second half of the season with just one catch on three targets. It wasn't just that Philip Rivers didn't make very many good passes to Gates; it's that Gates was rarely open. He dropped the first ball thrown his way, a very catchable pass along the sideline (and a pass that Gates hauls in 99 times out of 100). Although he did somewhat make up for the drop later on when he hauled in one of the prettiest one-handed grabs you're going to see along the right sideline.
2007 Week 17 vs OAK (11 / 6 / 62 / 0 rec)
Gates turned in a solid performance on a day when it almost seemed as if the Chargers were forcing him the football to get him going a little bit. Gates hasn't had a big game since injuring his back several weeks ago, and it was important that the Chargers got him going a little bit before the playoffs began. The end result was a decent five catch performance, but it could have been so much more. Gates caught a 24 yard pass down the sideline on a play that was initially ruled a reception and a push out by the defender. However, the Raiders challenged whether Gates had maintained possession all the way to the ground, and replays confirmed that the ball came loose. The play was overturned, costing Gates a big gain. Late in the contest, QB Billy Volek sent a floater to Gates in the corner of the end zone for a jump ball. It was a play that a healthy Gates typically makes, but he couldn't establish good enough positioning to come down with the pass, and it fell harmlessly incomplete. He did show tremendous athleticism on a one-handed snag over the middle early in the third quarter, which showed that he isn't entirely void of the occasional highlight these days. But the Chargers are going to need much bigger performances from him in the coming weeks if they hope to make it through the gauntlet that is the AFC playoffs.
2007 Week 18 vs TEN (2 / 2 / 15 / 0 rec)
After a short pass in the flat resulted in Gates slipping to the turf for a one yard loss, he attempted to get to his feet and advance the ball. Planting his feet into the turf, he was hit up high by the defender and had his foot/toe bent backward at an awkward angle despite his cleats remaining planted in the ground. He was helped off the field and eventually carted to the locker room with what was termed a sprained toe, though in the postgame press conference HC Norv Turner indicated that there is a possibility that it's more serious than that. Obviously, Gates did not return to the game and even more telling is the fact that he didn't return to the sideline. We'll keep you updated throughout the week on his status, and he is officially considered questionable to play against the Colts.
2007 Week 19 vs IND (3 / 2 / 28 / 0 rec)
All week, all the signs pointed to Gates not being healthy enough to suit up for this game. He had dislocated the big toe on his left foot, and it wasn't revealed until the morning of the game that he would be able to go. He wasn't heavily involved in the offense, catching just two passes. But his mere presence underneath helped open up the outside passing lanes for the likes of Chris Chambers and Vincent Jackson. On one deep ball down the sideline, Gates looked very awkward trying to catch up to, and then lunge for, the football at the last moment. With another week to get healthy, Gates should be at least somewhat more involved in next week's conference title game.
2007 Week 20 vs NE (0 / 2 / 17 / 0 rec)
Gates, dealing with a dislocated toe suffered two weeks ago, tried to give it a go and made it through the game, but he was in and out during much of the afternoon. He clearly wasn't 100% and reports prior to the game were that he was actually in worse physical condition than last week (when he wasn't even expected to suit up). He was thrown to once in the end zone but was mostly a non-factor as the Chargers opted to throw to the wide receivers more often.
2006 Week 1 vs OAK (2 / 2 / 26 / 1 rec)
Gates was targeted only twice in the game, but caught both balls for 26 yards and a touchdown. QB Phillip Rivers only threw 11 passes in the game and his only two red zone attempts went to tight ends.
2006 Week 2 vs TEN (8 / 4 / 55 / 0 rec)
Gates had a game that will show up in the box score as a disappointment for him, but one that was very close to being dynamite. He was overthrown in the back of the end zone by RB LaDainian Tomlinson on a halfback option pass. Gates was wide open on the play. Later, he was barely overthrown over the middle on a sliding attempt, but the ball just went off his fingertips. It could have been caught, but was a tough play. In the third quarter, Rivers just missed him on what would have been a big gain down the seam where there was nothing but space in front of the big TE. Soon after that, Gates was targeted at the goal line by Rivers for what could have been a TD, but the ball was dropped. It actually appeared to be a catch and then a fumble at the one yard line, but it was ruled incomplete. The news wasn't all bad for Gates, as he made a terrific leaping catch in traffic by jumping over several defenders to snag a 28 yard pass. And he did tie Tomlinson for the game high in passing targets, and was just four yards shy of leading all players in receiving yardage. For owners who might be nervous about how Gates will perform with Rivers as the QB, it appears that they are very slightly off with their timing, but very close to clicking.
2006 Week 4 vs BAL (8 / 4 / 41 / 0 rec)
Gates was covered by Ed Reed for much of the day, and he was blanketed by the safety on his one target in the end zone. Gates' stats don't reflect a poor performance by him; rather, it is of a team wide philosophy to limit how much they are going to put the ball in the hands of Philip Rivers. Gates made a sparkling one-handed catch on a third and 13 pass early in the first quarter, tipping the ball to himself in traffic and holding on despite receiving a big hit. But he was heard from very little after that aside from a game-saving (at the time) fumble recovery near the Chargers' own end zone. He hauled in an 18 yard cross on the next to last play of the game to salvage some fantasy points, as he had just 23 yards receiving to that point.
2006 Week 5 vs PIT (7 / 3 / 55 / 1 rec)
Gates has yet to match the dominating performances we're used to seeing, but he still hit pay dirt last night when he caught Rivers' second touchdown pass. Gates caught the pass over the middle at the five yard line while boxing out the defender to prevent the interception. Gates then spun away from the tackler and lunged forward into the end zone for the 22 yard touchdown.
2006 Week 6 vs SF (7 / 5 / 78 / 1 rec)
Gates scored on the Chargers' opening drive in the game when he caught a ten yard pass, broke a bad tackle, and lumbered 57 yards for the touchdown. He totaled five receptions for 78 yards.
2006 Week 7 vs KC (15 / 9 / 63 / 1 rec)
Gates was targeted a game high 15 times and had a season high nine receptions for 63 yards. Gates was wide open after a play fake for a one yard touchdown catch. Gates has now caught a touchdown pass in three straight games. Gates was targeted unsuccessfully another time in the end zone. Gates had a 14 yard reception overturned by a replay challenge.
2006 Week 8 vs STL (8 / 5 / 66 / 0 rec)
Gates began on fire, and seemed to be on his way to a monster game. While his final stats were solid, they aren't indicative of the way he opened up (43 yards on the Chargers' first two possessions). He nearly scored on San Diego's opening drive, hauling in a 27 yard pass from Rivers but was tackled just short of the goal line at the two. LaDainian Tomlinson scored on the next play. Gates showed great hands on the reception, hauling in an absolute laser from Philip Rivers on a slant before dragging several defenders along the way. That same quick slant netted 11 more yards on a second quarter pass play, but Gates was quiet after that. He was thrown to in the end zone late in the third quarter, but Rivers didn't put quite enough touch on the pass and it sailed far over Gates' head for an incomplete pass.
2006 Week 9 vs CLE (5 / 2 / 22 / 0 rec)
Gates wasn't looked to very often, and was pretty well covered up for the most part by Cleveland's interior defenders. Even the catches Gates did make were tough to come by, as had to wrestle the ball away from defenders on each of his two receptions. For the most part, however, Gates was quiet (as evidenced by his stat line).
2006 Week 10 vs CIN (5 / 5 / 69 / 0 rec)
Gates virtually disappeared for a very long stretch of the game. He caught his first pass at 7:46 of the first quarter, and didn't record his second reception until the 6:23 mark of the third quarter (a span of 31:23. Once he hauled in that second one, he regained his regular rotation in the offense and caught three more balls. One of his late receptions was critical, snatching it away from the defender on a third and eight pass that went for 27 yards.
2006 Week 11 vs DEN (6 / 5 / 48 / 0 rec)
Gates was Rivers' favorite target, but saw five of his six looks in the second half. His only target in the first half was tipped at the line and intercepted by Nick Ferguson. It was clear that San Diego wanted to get Gates more involved in the game in the second half. Gates caught all of his second half looks and finished first on the team in receptions and second in yardage.
2006 Week 12 vs OAK (12 / 6 / 81 / 1 rec)
The coaching staff clearly made a concerted effort to get the ball to Gates in this game, as evidenced by his game high 13 pass targets. In recent weeks, there have been more than a few whispers that Gates hasn't been producing at his usually high levels, and today it was apparent that they wanted him involved early and often. Despite his seemingly substandard numbers, after this game, he is now on pace for 73 receptions, 878 yards, and seven touchdowns. The touchdown reception came on a halfback option pass from RB LaDainian Tomlinson, as Gates streaked wide open to the end zone and hauled in the pass untouched.
2006 Week 13 vs BUF (9 / 7 / 90 / 1 rec)
The Chargers once again made a conscious effort to get the ball to their big tight end, which was made all the more necessary by Eric Parker's inability to hang onto the ball and Keenan McCardell's injury that forced him out of the game in the third quarter. When the Chargers got near the goal line, it was either Tomlinson or Gates who the team targeted, much like last season's strategy. On one pass, Gates was unable to hold onto a fade pass in the end zone for what would have been a touchdown (a drive that ended with a missed FG). Gates did redeem himself by hauling in an 11 yard touchdown in the back of the end zone from Philip Rivers later in the quarter. Gates also showed great hands late in the game on a sideline route that resulted in a key first down conversion.
2006 Week 14 vs DEN (11 / 7 / 104 / 2 rec)
If anyone was concerned about the performance of Gates this season, those fears were certainly put to rest in this game. Despite being covered by Champ Bailey at times, Gates put up terrific numbers and looked outstanding in doing so. He caught passes all over the field, often lined up split out as a wide receiver, streaking down the seam, crossing routes, slants, etc. His first touchdown catch of the game was a combination of football and basketball skills, as he "boxed out" CBs Darrent Williams and Champ Bailey to haul in the score. On his second score, Gates out-leaped the defender for the touchdown. Basically, the only thing that stopped or even slowed Gates in this game was the fact that the Chargers got out to such a large lead and didn't need to throw as much in the second half.
2006 Week 15 vs KC (4 / 1 / 7 / 0 rec)
Gates only caught one of the five passes thrown his way, for his worst fantasy game of the year. He was the target on Rivers' first interception. Otherwise, most of his looks were off target.
2006 Week 16 vs SEA (6 / 2 / 63 / 0 rec)
Gates saw his first target on a long third down. QB Phillip Rivers was taking a huge hit from LB Lofa Tatupu on a blitz and threw an errant pass well away from Gates, but in his general direction that was nearly intercepted. On the following series Brees lofted a deep ball down the left sideline well over his head. Gates pulled in two long passes (25 and 38 yards) down the center of the field during the third quarter. Each set up field goals by PK Nate Kaeding.
2006 Week 17 vs ARI (6 / 4 / 56 / 1 rec)
Gates was the target on an early pass from Philip Rivers that probably should have gone for a touchdown, but was instead intercepted. Gates was streaking down the seam wide open, but the ball was underthrown and picked off. Gates capitalized on a scoring opportunity later on in the first half when he reached back across his body to make a nice grab before rumbling the rest of the way down the sideline for a 33 yard touchdown. Gates' statistics don't wow anyone, but they suffered after halftime along with the rest of the receivers as the Chargers played it conservatively. Once they went up 27-7 early in the third quarter (and with both QB Philip Rivers and RB LaDainian Tomlinson hurting), the Chargers threw the ball just four more times the rest of the way.
2006 Week 19 vs NE (9 / 6 / 61 / 0 rec)
Gates wasn't bad in the game, but his name wasn't called for long stretches of time and he certainly was well contained by the New England pass defense. He almost made a fantastic grab for a touchdown early in the second quarter, but was tackled down at the one yard line and subsequently fumbled the ball. The Chargers challenged the play and won, as the ball was ruled an incomplete pass. The call could have gone either way, and it certainly appeared as if Gates had possession and fumbled when he was trying to stretch out into the end zone. Eighteen of Gates' 61 yards came on the Chargers' final possession when they were trying to get into field goal range and save the season. Those two plays accounted for approximately one third of Gates' total production in the game, which begs the question of why he wasn't utilized more frequently during the rest of the contest.
2005 Week 2 vs DEN (8 / 6 / 80 / 0 rec)
It was hard to believe that Antonio Gates had missed three games due to suspension as he was very effective and a key part of the Chargers' passing game. Gates was targeted eight times, catching six balls for 80 yards. Five of the catches were for a first down and it seemed that Brees looked to Gates first on most of the third down plays. Gates came through in the clutch to bring in a 24 yard reception under heavy pressure from Al Wilson, leading to the Chargers' final score of the game.
2005 Week 3 vs NYG (6 / 6 / 92 / 1 rec)
Gates looked great, using his sure hands to receive all six balls thrown his way. Clearly he is a favorite target of Drew Brees, and his playmaking ability earned him 92 yards and a touchdown.
2005 Week 4 vs NE (8 / 6 / 108 / 0 rec)
Gates had himself another monster game. In addition to being almost completely uncoverable underneath, Gates also broke downfield for a 38 yard reception down to the New England one yard line. LaDainian Tomlinson scored from that spot on the next play, so Gates' game could have been even better had he managed to snag that one extra yard. In any case, he had a stellar afternoon, and is as good a bet at the tight end position as there is out there.
2005 Week 5 vs PIT (11 / 5 / 61 / 1 rec)
Gates proved once again to be San Diego's best asset in the passing game, tallying 60 yards on five receptions, including an 11 yard touchdown in the second quarter. His best catch came when a scrambling Brees tossed up a jump ball and he essentially rebounded it over James Farrior for 14 yards. He took numerous blows from safety Troy Polamalu and kept coming back for more tough yards. His low point came just as ABC broadcaster John Madden finished complimenting Gates for his hands and body positioning and he let a very catchable ball go through his hands and into a Steelers' defender for an interception.
2005 Week 6 vs OAK (4 / 2 / 17 / 0 rec)
Gates had a quiet afternoon, though he had an opportunity go just out of his reach for a score. He got open in the end zone, but was overthrown by Drew Brees in the corner. Gates was able to draw a pass interference penalty in the third quarter, but really didn't do much in the game.
2005 Week 7 vs PHI (12 / 8 / 72 / 1 rec)
Gates was held without a catch in the first half of the game, but came alive in the second half. He repeatedly made big catches in the middle of the field and shed would be Eagles' tacklers to keep San Diego drives alive. His touchdown came on a short fade route to the left side of the end zone.
2005 Week 8 vs KC (16 / 10 / 145 / 3 rec)
Gates had one of the greatest games by a tight end in the history of the NFL. Fellow TE Tony Gonzalez said Gates' game was, "One of the best games I've ever seen by a tight end." In addition to running routes like a wide receiver, running over Chiefs defenders with awesome power, displaying remarkable hands, terrific jumping ability, and a knack for always being able to make that one extra move to pick up the first down, Gates was undoubtedly the center of the San Diego offense with 16 passing targets. There just aren't enough superlatives to describe the kind of game he had. He was, in a word, unstoppable. Gates dropped one pass that would have gone for a first down, but it's almost not worth mentioning after all of the positive he did in the game.
2005 Week 9 vs NYJ (10 / 8 / 132 / 0 rec)
Gates picked up this week where he left off last week. He ran wild in the Jets' secondary, particularly down the seam in the middle of the field. New York simply had no answers for the star tight end, and he posted yet another 100+ yard effort. At times after the catch, Gates seems to simply be able to flick off defenders as if they are a minor nuisance. Both his speed and strength (not to mention excellent hands) were on display big-time.
2005 Week 11 vs BUF (6 / 5 / 77 / 1 rec)
Gates was headed for yet another huge game when he was injured early in the third quarter. The initial diagnosis is a sprained arch in his foot. He was tackled from behind during a reception and had his foot and ankle trapped under the tackler. He was able to walk off the field under his own power and was later carted off to the locker room. After the game, he was seen in a boot and was apparently in some discomfort, but the boot was very likely precautionary. Though unconfirmed at this point, Gates was apparently able to drive himself home after the game and teammates didn't seem too concerned after the game in the locker room. Gates' backup, Justin Peelle, apparently sprained a shoulder but no update was given outside of that. Should Gates miss any time, Gates owners could do worse than Peelle as a temporary fill-in. As for Gates' performance, he once again seemed completely unstoppable at most times. His touchdown reception was a great play on which he simply ran over a defender on his way to the end zone, barely reaching the goal line as he fell in. He also showed great hands on several other passes, though he did drop a potentially huge gain on a slant over the middle. He had no defenders in front of him, though several were close.
2005 Week 12 vs WAS (9 / 3 / 39 / 0 rec)
After injuring his foot and ankle last week against Buffalo, there was some question as to whether or not Gates would even play this week. He suited up and started, and was in for nearly every play, but clearly was affected by the ankle. He seemed to be moving around well in warm-ups, but the game situation was far different. He dropped four of his nine targets, including three in the first half. He didn't record his first catch until midway through the second quarter, and was phased out of the offensive gameplan towards the end of regulation in favor of Eric Parker. Just when Gates owners had resigned themselves to a goose egg, however, he broke free for a 24 yard reception on a TE screen up the right sideline. The pass was the longest pass play of the day for either team, and Gates really seemed to have his burst and speed on the play. In fact, had he had a little better balance, the play could have gone for a dozen or so more yards. That play should give Gates owners some positives heading into next week's matchups.
2005 Week 13 vs OAK (7 / 4 / 51 / 1 rec)
Brees looked for Gates on a big third and long play at the beginning of the second quarter for a 17 yard reception. Two plays later, Gates caught the Chargers first touchdown of the game on a six yard pass that was originally ruled incomplete but was over ruled after the replay. He continued to be the main target for Brees since he was targeted seven times and was looked for in clutch situations. He briefly left the game after getting kneed in the back on a 19 yard catch, but it didn't seem to be serious.
2005 Week 14 vs MIA (16 / 13 / 123 / 1 rec)
Gates, who suffered a foot injury two weeks ago and then appeared a bit limited last week, shook off any ill effects to resume his place as an unstoppable force. Gates led all players in receptions, yards, and passing targets, though it took a late game drive to get him into the scoring column. The touchdown catch with fifteen second remaining in the game didn't do much to help the Chargers, but his fantasy owners were quite pleased with the effort. It was a terrific catch on a jump ball situation, something he is becoming one of, if not the best in the league at. All game long, Gates ran fine, cut well, showed good strength, etc. About the only time he didn't look like his usual dominant self was when a potential reception was snared away from him by LB Zach Thomas for an interception.
2005 Week 15 vs IND (10 / 6 / 29 / 0 rec)
Gates was heavily involved early on, with nine of his eleven targets coming before halftime. He wasn't doing much with the opportunities, as most of his routes called for the big tight end to simply sit down in a soft spot of the defense. He didn't have much room to roam, and was only thrown to downfield a couple of times. The Chargers tried splitting him out wide, with no success. Gates was the target of a third down pass in the end zone that was thrown to high for him to come down with. On a couple of early passes, Gates and Brees seemed to be on different pages offensively. In "Madden" terms, Gates 'zigged' when he was maybe supposed to have 'zagged'. It was simply a quiet game for him, and not indicative of a 1,000 yard receiver (a mark the big tight end reached in the game).
2005 Week 16 vs KC (8 / 4 / 52 / 1 rec)
Gates was very dangerous everywhere downfield using his size to advantage on catches and his size and speed for extra yards after the catch. The dependable Brees to Gates connection managed the lone score for the Chargers on an 18 yard hook-up in the first quarter.
2005 Week 17 vs DEN (9 / 3 / 23 / 0 rec)
Gates was heavily involved from a target standpoint, though most of the passes his way were completely uncatchable. Not to mention two of his targets were thrown so poorly that the big TE had to play defender to simply knock them away and avoid interceptions. He did have his moments, however. On one reception, Gates demonstrated his terrific balance and moves when he danced through several defenders on his way to a first down. Gates missed out on a sure touchdown down the seam when a Drew Brees pass intended for him was broken up at the last second and deflected by LB D.J. Williams.