It is hardly a secret that Gates' numbers have taken a dip this season. Whether that is due to the change in quarterback or the fact it is near impossible to match the numbers he put up in 2004 and 2005, the decline has been obvious.
Seeing as LaDainian Tomlinson and the running game historically struggle in Denver, this may be a prime week for Gates to step up and help carry the passing game. If the Broncos cover Gates like they do other tight ends, the All Pro could be in for a big day.
"They use their defensive end to cover tight ends," said coach Marty Schottenheimer of the Denver defense. "I don't imagine any defensive lineman covering Antonio Gates. Maybe they will. Maybe they have a secret I don't know about."
The Chargers have scored more touchdowns than any other team in the league. The Bolts have scored 35 touchdowns, five more than the Cowboys, who are second in that category.
Aside from the record-setting Tomlinson, the scores are coming from surprising sources. Back-ups Malcom Floyd and Brandon Manumaleuna have three touchdowns each, while fellow reserve Vincent Jackson has a pair of scores, too.
Draft Day Connection
Since the 1970 merger, only four teams have selected defense backs with each of their first three draft picks. San Diego and Denver are two of those teams, with the Chargers doing so in 2002 and the Broncos following suit in 2005.
Success not a Brees for Plummer
When the Chargers drafted Philip Rivers in 2004, many predicted he would win the starting job right out of the gate. Instead, incumbent Drew Brees was motivated by Rivers' selection and responded with back-to-back stellar seasons.
The Broncos surely hoped Jake Plummer would respond in a similar way when they drafted Jay Cutler with the No. 11 pick in this year's draft. Instead, Plummer has thrown more interceptions through nine games (10) than he did all of last season (seven). Also, his passer rating has fallen by nearly 20, from 90.2 to 71.6.