The Qualcomm Stadium turf or Chargers tight end Antonio Gates?
It was 94 degrees at kickoff and some 20 degrees warmer on the
field. No matter, Gates trumped that.
Gates' three touchdown catches lifted the San Diego Chargers over
the Seattle Seahawks, 30-21, on a scorcher of an afternoon.
Philip Rivers clicked with Gates for two scoring receptions of 8
yards and one of 21 as the Chargers (1-1) evened their record.
"Seeing the connection of Philip and Antonio today, that is one of
the most, if not the most, prolific tandems in the history of the
game," Chargers coach Mike McCoy said.
The Seahawks' (1-1) only lead came in the first quarter as they
failed to overcome what Rivers and Gates were producing.
Gates finished with seven receptions for a team-high 96 yards.
Rivers was 28 of 37 for 284 yards and three scores.
Russell Wilson threw for two touchdowns in completing 17 of 25 for
The win, which included three Nick Novak field goals, could be
costly. Running back Ryan Mathews exited on a cart in the fourth
quarter, with what appeared to be a serious leg injury.
The key for the Chargers was playing keep-away from Seattle, winning
the time of possession battle, 42:15 to 17:45.
"The game got weighted so much in the favor of them controlling it,"
Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. "They had twice as many plans as we
did. It was a great job by Philip and their offense."
"They kept us from controlling the clock," he said. "They just
sustained drives and kept us off the field offensively. Normally our
offense does a great job."
Nothing was better than Rivers and Gates.
"He had a great game all the way around, not only the touchdown
catches but big third-down conversions and other catches," Rivers
said. "It doesn't surprise me, but I will say that the touchdown
catches for the most part didn't come up exactly the way they were
drawn. It's just two guys who have been together a long time."
Any time is a good time for Rivers to look for No. 85, even against
"The Legion of Boom is what I've been hearing about all week," Gates
said. "Obviously, they believe in their skills to cover. It was a
situation where fortunately I was matched up on linebackers at
times, and I was able to come away with the win, and Philip (Rivers)
was able to put the ball basically where no other player could get
The Seahawks pulled to within 27-21 on a 14-yard pass from Wilson to
Marshawn Lynch. The Chargers busted a coverage on the play as Lynch
cruised in untouched with not a Charger around him.
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Gates added his third touchdown to tie a career high when he made a
sensational one-handed catch on a third-quarter, 21-yard pass from
Rivers. With Kam Chancellor and K.J. Wright covering, Gates reached
out with his left hand and made a diving reception to give the
Chargers a 27-14 lead.
Seattle tackled on a touchdown in the first half's closing seconds
on a 3-yard pass from Wilson to Robert Turbin, cutting its deficit
Rivers and Gates connected for their second 8-yard touchdown in the
half's final minute, giving the Chargers a 20-7 lead. Rivers
sidestepped pressure in floating the pass to Gates deep in the end
Novak's second field goal was from 43 yards, supplying the Chargers
with a 13-7 edge with 4:40 left in the half. The Chargers were
derailed on a critical holding penalty by Rich Ohrnberger at the
Rivers clicked with Gates on an 8-yard strike as Gates slipped
behind Chancellor in single coverage. That pushed the Chargers'
cushion to 10-7.
Percy Harvin's 51-yard scoring run put the Seahawks ahead, 7-3 with
about two minutes left in the first quarter. Harvin took a pitch
from Wilson around the left end, and when linebacker Jerry Attaochu
didn't set the perimeter on that side, Harvin sprinted in easily.
"Wilson thought I could get to the edge so he flipped it," Harvin
The NFL sent word postgame that the touchdown should have been
reviewed. The NFL confirmed that Harvin stepped out of bounds at the
The Chargers struck first when Novak kicked a 50-yard field goal
late in the first quarter.
NOTES: Chargers CB Brandon Flowers was inactive with a groin injury.
... OLB Jarret Johnson was absent as he attended the birth of his
child. ... OLB Dwight Freeney recorded the 109th sack of his career
when bringing Russell Wilson down for a 13-yard loss in the first
quarter. ... Seattle has a Super Bowl rematch at Denver next week
before its bye. ... It was the third time that Antonio Gates has had
three scoring catches in a game.
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