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With Gates, numbers don’t tell full story

Discussion in 'American Football' started by Johnny Lightning, Dec 11, 2008.

  1. Johnny Lightning

    Johnny Lightning Go Bolts

    Feb 7, 2006
    In last Thursday's win over the Raiders, Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was held without a catch for the first time in more than five seasons. He still, however, had a big effect on the Chargers' offense and Gates has a refreshing outlook on his role.
    “I understand in this game you have to be patient,” Gates said. “You don’t necessarily have to have individual stats to have an impact on the game.”

    Take for example last Thursday's win over Oakland. Gates didn't shine statistically, but his presence helped the Chargers rack up 372 yards of total offense in a 34-7 win over the Raiders.

    “There were a couple third-down conversions we had in the game that are huge conversation that they’re flat out doubling Gates and it allows (Darren) Sproles to catch a swing pass for a first down or Vincent (Jackson) to catch one for a first down,” quarterback Philip Rivers said.

    Gates leads the Chargers in catches with 46 and has six touchdown receptions on the season, second only to Tony Gonzalez (7) amongst NFL tight ends. If Gates scores Sunday against the Chiefs, he’ll reach the 50-career touchdown mark faster than any other tight end in NFL history. Sunday is Gates’ 91st career game, and Jerry Smith (100 games) currently holds that distinction.

    Throughout his six-year career, Gates has continually strived to become a complete tight end, and he knows that receiving numbers aren’t the only way to measure his success. The Chargers rushed for a season-high 159 yards as a team against Oakland, and with Gates getting so many plays, he certainly has a hand in that number.

    “My stats and touchdown might be up but I might be doing things mentally or doing things in the run game that’s not up to my standard,” Gates said. “You might not see me catching touchdowns but I might grade out using the right techniques, being mentally sharp. There are different aspects that you can look at when you look at a player and his success in this league. “

    On Wednesday, Rivers praised his good friend’s approach and lauded the way Gates has helped the offense this season even without the ball in his hands.

    “One thing about Gates is he always believes he’s the guy getting the ball and he runs hard every time,” Rivers said. “With that approach he’s obviously going to get a lot of balls and when he doesn’t he certainly is helping everybody else.”

    Injury update

    Linebacker Anthony Waters (hamstring) and defensive tackle Jamal Williams (rest) were the only two Chargers who didn’t practice Wednesday. Safety Clinton Hart (shoulder) linebacker Marques Harris (hamstring) and fullback Mike Tolbert (shoulder) were limited.

    Back to work

    Wednesday’s practice was essentially the first normal day of work the Chargers have had since November 28, which was the Friday before their home game against Atlanta. The Bolts had just one full practice last week in preparation for a Thursday night game. They held a short practice Monday before returning to their normal schedule Wednesday.

    “It’s nice to get back into a normal routine and get into our practice schedule,” Head Coach Norv Turner said. “It was a good first day in terms of getting ready for Kansas City.”

    The Chargers will be on their normal schedule Thursday and Friday before traveling to Kansas City Friday afternoon.

    Tough venue

    The Chargers look to win consecutive games at Arrowhead Stadium for the first time since 1988-89, and Kansas City is always a tough place to play this time of year. The Chiefs are 21-4 at home in December since 1995 and have won nine of their last 10 December home contests against AFC West teams.

    Sunday’s weather is calling for temperatures in the low 50’s, but Arrowhead’s trademark winds are expected to be blowing wild, and there’s a 30 percent chance of rain.

    “It’s always a tough place to play,” Rivers said. “If you don’t start fast, the fans get into it and make it tough. It’s loud and they really get behind them. We need to come out strong and build some momentum Sunday.”

    While the Chargers won back-to-back games at Arrowhead in the late 80’s, no Bolts quarterback has won consecutive starts in Kansas City since Dan Fouts did so in ‘80-81. Since Rivers became a starter in 2006, the Chiefs are the only team that has beaten him twice in the regular season.

  2. Retired Catholic

    Retired Catholic BoltTalker

    Aug 3, 2006
    Actually, in addition to Scifres and Jammer, Gates is a legit pro bowler as well. Forgot about him.

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