NFL Wire News

Gates makes splash in return from suspension


The Sports Xchange

SAN DIEGO — Tight end Antonio Gates had a big night in his first game since serving a four-game suspension. He paced the San Diego Chargers with two touchdowns, and 94 receiving yards on nine catches. Gates joined Tony Gonzalez as the only tight ends with 100 career touchdown receptions.

“I was excited,” Gates said. “Just to see the fans and the appreciation they have for me and what I have accomplished. I’ve never had any expectations in terms of what I was going to do in the game. All I wanted to do was contribute.”

–Cornerback Jason Verrett, a second-year pro, got high marks for his work on wide receiver Antonio Brown. He finished with three catches for 45 yards. Verrett was especially tough on third downs.

“I was just trying to go with the game plan,” Verrett said. “I won my fair share, but he is one of the best receivers in the game.”

–Quarterback Philip Rivers said it felt like a “road game” and that’s life these days in Qualcomm Stadium. The Steelers fans matched the Chargers fans and even Rivers couldn’t remember when it was so pronounced. Rival teams often bring big groups to San Diego, but this one was exceptional.

“Odd is one word we can use,” a ticked Rivers said. “We’re checking in and out of plays. I’m usually hoarse after those road games. I’m going to be (Monday) as well. It was unique to say the least.”

At one point, Rivers had to go to a silent count with the Steelers boosters making so much noise on third downs.

Notes: Left guard Orlando Franklin (ankle) missed his third straight game. The short week doesn’t help his cause. … Center Chris Watt was able to play, but he was in and out all game because of a groin injury and then suffered a concussion. … Wide receiver Stevie Johnson (hamstring) missed another game. He could be down another week as he didn’t practice last week.

About The Sports Xchange

Since 1987, the Sports Xchange has been the best source of information and analysis for the top professionals in the sports publishing & information business