Bolts & Dolts: The worst game of Antonio Gates' career?

Stan Liu-USA TODAY Sports

Each week, we highlight which San Diego Chargers players performed above (or below) expectations in the team's previous game. For this pots, we examine the team's loss to the Cincinnati Bengals.

Bolts

Eric Weddle - 7 tackles (6 solo), 1 tackle for loss, 1 interception, 1 fumble recovery

Weddle played more free safety than he's been playing this season, and he once again looked like the best defensive player on the field for either team. Ending up with both of the turnovers by the Chargers defense is worth a bolt for any player, but Weddle did more than just get the ball on Sunday. He was everywhere, doing everything and doing it well.

Ladarius Green - 2 catches (6 targets), 45 rec yds, 1 rec TD

Here's a fun way to look at Ladarius Green's season:

  • Before the bye week (7 games): 5 catches (6 targets), 113 rec yds
  • After the bye week (5 games): 11 catches (18 targets), 241 rec yds, 2 rec TDs

Kudos to Ken Whisenhunt for upping Green's targets. Opposing defenses are starting to gameplan for Green, as he was double-covered more than once yesterday and was still the only Chargers player to get into the end zone.

Honorable Mention: Ryan Mathews, Keenan Allen, Donald Butler, Manti Te'o

Dolts

Antonio Gates - 5 catches (9 targets), 41 rec yds, 2 fumbles

Damn what the box score says, Gates had two fumbles deep inside the territory of the Bengals. He took anywhere from 6-14 points off the board in a close game. He also dropped a few passes and generally looked slow. I can't remember another game where he looked like a mediocre tight end and caused his team the game with mistakes, so I'm going to go ahead and mark this down as the worst game of Gates' long and distinguished NFL career.

Chargers Defensive Line

All of them. No sacks, no pressure (except when Eric Weddle blitzed), and no hope in stopped BenJarvus Green-Ellis on the ground. I have no idea what happened in the last year, but that could not have been the same group out there. A more capable offense would've put up 30+ points on the Chargers and the weakest link was the line, not the secondary.

Vincent Brown / Mike McCoy / Ken Whisenhunt

Hey, you know how Rivers seems terrified to throw to Vincent Brown? Remember, last week, when he threw the most important pass of the game to Seyi Ajirotutu and everyone went home happy?

Well, Vincent Brown got the start and Ajirotutu barely saw the field (and wasn't targeted on a single throw). Brown ended up catching a pass he shouldn't have, when Rivers led him right into a safety patrolling the middle of the field, and missing on another throw later in the game.

If it's this obvious to us that Rivers loves throwing to Seyi and is petrified of throwing to Brown, why can't the coaching staff see it?

Chargers Defensive Secondary

All of them (except Weddle), although they weren't as bad as the defensive line. A.J. Green all alone in the end zone should never happy, but seeing how quickly and easily WRs were burning Shareece Wright it's not as if coverage would've helped much. Richard Marshall was actually a touch better than Derek Cox typically is, whom was benched before the game instead of half-way through the game, but that's not saying much.

I don't really like firing coaches after a single season, but Ron Milus is in something of a tailspin this season.

Honorable Mention: Johnnie Troutman

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