No. 7 impact play: Gates goes deep

February, 17, 2014
Feb 17
8:45
PM ET
In this series, we count down the top-10 impact plays for the San Diego Chargers that helped shape the team's 2013 postseason run.

Situation: First-and-10 from the San Diego's 44-yard line on Sept. 29.

Score: Chargers lead the Cowboys 23-21.

Time: Seven minutes, two seconds remaining in regulation.

Williams' take: With the Chargers needing a touchdown to seal an impressive, early-season victory at home against the Dallas Cowboys, veteran tight end Antonio Gates showed he still has enough speed to get deep, bolting past Pro Bowl linebacker Sean Lee for a 56-yard touchdown. The fourth-quarter touchdown gave San Diego some breathing room late in the game.

Check out the play here.

Season impact: The score gave San Diego a 30-21 victory, and kept the Chargers from falling too far behind early in the season by evening up the team's record at 2-2. The touchdown was the signature play of Gates' bounce-back season. The 12-year pro finished with a team-high 77 receptions for 872 yards and four touchdowns. Gates played a full, 16-game season for the first time since 2009, and 49 of his receptions went for first downs.

Quote: "When he accelerated, at first I thought I overthrew him. And then when I saw him kind of dig, I felt pretty good that he was going to get there." -- Philip Rivers on his pass to Gates for the 56-yard touchdown against Dallas.

Eric D. Williams

ESPN San Diego Chargers reporter

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