He'd run the route so many times in games or practice that he could do it in his sleep.
So although he hadn't been called on much to make plays this season, Los Angeles Chargers tight end Antonio Gates stutter-stepped at the top of an over route and separated from Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson for his first touchdown since breaking the all-time TD record for tight ends in Week 2 on a 10-yard pass from Philip Rivers.
It was a big moment in the game for the Chargers as they took a 13-10 lead with 9:26 in the third quarter. But the Chiefs would go on to score 20 unanswered points for the victory.
The score marked the 86th time Gates and Rivers connected for a touchdown,Authentic Ty Sambrailo Jersey
, passing Steve Young and Jerry Rice (85) for second all-time in NFL history to Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison (112).
Gates raised his hands outward and looked toward the Chargers' sideline as if to say,After his touchdown, "I can still do this."
and I always try and make everything look the same," Gates said. "I was playing against a guy in Johnson that's pretty smart,Authentic Demarcus Walker Jersey
,"I wasn't sure how they were going to play it,Authentic Carlos Henderson Jersey
, so it's a chess match. I made it look like it was my normal pivot,womens Brendan Langley Jersey
, and that's why you could see the separation and by that time it was too late."
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, has been dealing with a reduced role during the second half of the season -- something hard to stomach at first for this future Hall of Famer. Through 14 games,The challenge for Gates,womens Jake Butt Jersey
, Gates has 20 receptions for 189 yards and two touchdowns. He hasn't posted numbers that low since his rookie season in 2003.
" Gates said. "I try not to get caught up in my own ego or my own pride,womens Paxton Lynch Jersey
, and just try and be able to deliver when my number is called. Because I think sometimes you get so caught up in being frustrated that when your number is called,Authentic Shane Ray Jersey
,"I think the natural thing being a human in general -- it's got nothing to do with sports - - is just feeling like you can do more, you wouldn't be in a position to contribute.
and I've always heard guys complain about playing time and not getting the ball. And I think that helped me gain an understanding because I was always in a position to where I could display my ability, ever since I was a kid. So I'm trying to keep my enthusiasm up,"I've been in this situation my whole career in life where I was the guy, and guys around me I'm trying to give them my insight about what I think, yet stay focused so I can make a play when my number is called."
Gates has been targeted just 37 times and is averaging 25 snaps a game. Hunter Henry has taken over the role as the Chargers' No. 1 tight end. Sean McGrath serves as the run-blocking tight end and recent acquisition Jeff Cumberland also has been used in two- and three-tight end sets because of his speed and athleticism.Authentic Brendan Langley Jersey
his 15th NFL season, will be his last,Gates is in the final year of a two-year deal that pays him $6 million this season. Gates hasn't said whether this,womens Demarcus Walker Jersey
, but retirement appears a distinct possibility.
as it stands now,womens Carlos Henderson Jersey
,However,womens Chad Kelly Jersey
,Gates believes he still has some plays left.
it's a challenge,Authentic Jake Butt Jersey
, whether it's good or bad,Authentic Paxton Lynch Jersey
,Authentic Adam Gotsis Jersey
," Gates said. "Any time you have change,"Obviously,womens Adam Gotsis Jersey
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, it's always a challenge. And what I try to do is always be optimistic for the big picture,womens Ty Sambrailo Jersey
, and just try and win."