This Sunday’s game is about the San Diego Chargers finding a way to beat the Cincinnati Bengals.
It’s about finding a way to win to move on to the next round and continuing their journey toward the ultimate goal of winning a Super Bowl.
That being said, Gates is pretty fired up he gets a chance to play the Bengals again following what may very well have been the worst game of his professional career.
In a 17-10 loss in Week 13, the future Hall-of-Famer recorded one fumble, although he did technically have a second ball ripped from his grasp for an interception. Both turnovers occurred when the Chargers were driving inside the red zone, a key reason they posted a season-low 10 points on the day.
“One thing about me is that I made some plays today that are uncharacteristic of who I am and what I stand for,” he said immediately following the game. “You have to take your hat off to that defense. They did a wonderful job in getting the ball out. To me, I have to play better to give us a better chance to win.”
So five weeks later, how does Gates feel about his performance that day?
“You’ve got to learn from it,” he said. “I’ve gone back and looked at the film since we’re playing them, and they made some phenomenal plays. But that’s not who I am and not what we stand for offensively. We hang our hats on protecting the football and that’s something that I’ve always been a part of since I’ve been here. It’s been emphasized for the last decade of being here, that good offenses find ways to protect that football. That turnover ratio is what we try to win every game and that’s something we’ll have to stress playing a defense like this.”
As a result, it’s no wonder Gates is happy to have the chance to right his wrongs.
“I’m excited to play them again,” said Gates. “Now I don’t want to make this about me against the Cincinnati Bengals because it’s about us executing and being efficient against a very good defense. They did some things to disrupt my timing, so I take my hat off to them. A lot of teams don’t have a whole bunch of success against that defense, so for us to be successful we are going to have to execute on a high level. We need to in order to win a game like this.”