Chargers' Antonio Gates: Critical factor on third downs

Gates caught all four of his targets for 35 yards in the 23-17 wild-card win over the Ravens on Sunday.

Gates was far and away Philip Rivers' main target on critical third downs, as Rivers utilized the veteran tight end's knack for route running to move the chains on multiple occasions. The fact Gates surpassed his 2017 receiving numbers in 2018 despite playing in 134 fewer offensive snaps should be an indication of his role in the Chargers' current offense, but it seems unlikely the rest of the team's skill position players will be held in check in a similar way to that of the wild-card contest going forward in the playoffs.

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