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Energetic Antonio Gates creates impact plays for Chargers

Antonio Gates was targeted a game-high 11 times Monday and finished with nine receptions for 92 yards and two scores. AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

SAN DIEGO -- He’s back.

In his first game back from a four-game suspension, San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates was in midseason form.

“He looked good to me,” Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said. “He looked like the same Antonio Gates. Our guys in our personnel breakdown Tuesday as a staff, that’s exactly what was said in the meeting. He looks very good.”

In 42 plays against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday night, Gates was targeted a game-high 11 times, finishing with nine receptions for 92 yards and two scores. Gates appeared to have fresh legs after the time off.

“I never had any expectations in terms of what I was going to do going into the game,” Gates said. “All I wanted to do was contribute, and I was able to do as much as I could when the opportunities presented themselves.”

Even better, the Chargers used both Gates and Ladarius Green together. Green played in 48 snaps. The Chargers ran two-tight end sets 20 times, or 27 percent of the offensive snaps.

Green finished with five catches for 50 yards on five targets

Heading into the game, the Chargers had run three-receiver sets over 82 percent of the time through four games.

So having Gates back gives San Diego more options in terms of personnel on offense, and more playmakers on the field when Green and Gates are out there together in two-tight-end sets.

OFFENSE (Based on 75 offensive snaps)

Quarterback -- Philip Rivers 75

Running back -- Melvin Gordon 46, Danny Woodhead 29.

Wide receiver -- Keenan Allen 75, Malcom Floyd 70, Dontrelle Inman 57.

Tight end -- Ladarius Green 48, Antonio Gates 42, David Johnson 4, John Phillips 3.

Offensive line -- Joe Barksdale 75, Kenny Wiggins 75, Trevor Robinson 75, D.J. Fluker 74, J.D. Walton 30, Chris Watt 29, Chris Hairston 16, Tyreek Burwell 1.

Offensive analysis -- Gordon’s appeared in a season-high 46 plays against the Pittsburgh. He touched the ball on 22 of those 46 plays, or 48 percent of the time. Gordon’s 141 yards after contact is tied for 12th in the NFL. ... The Chargers are No. 3 in the NFL in total offense (410 yards per game), but No. 16 in the NFL in scoring (23.2 points per game). …Rivers finished 5 of 12 for 44 yards on third down, with no touchdowns an interception returned for a score. He posted a 17.4 passer rating on third down. ... The Chargers are tied for third-worst in the NFL with 10 turnovers.

DEFENSE (Based on 57 defensive snaps)

Line -- Corey Liuget 47, Kendall Reyes 39, Ricardo Mathews 19, Sean Lissemore 18, Ryan Carrethers 9.

Linebacker -- Melvin Ingram 56, Manti Te’o 54, Jeremiah Attaochu 48, Donald Butler 36, Kyle Emanuel 9, Denzel Perryman 3.

Secondary -- Eric Weddle 57, Jimmy Wilson 57, Jason Verrett 56, Brandon Flowers 55, Patrick Robinson 34, Jahleel Addae 22, Stevie Williams 6, Darrell Stuckey 2.

Defensive analysis -- Per ESPN Stats & Information, Pittsburgh running back Le’Veon Bell had 11 rushes for a career-high 80 yards when the Chargers had at least eight defenders in the box, including the game-winning touchdown on the last play of the game. Bell had 71 yards before contact on 21 rushes Monday, including 50 against eight or more defenders in the box. Coming into the game, the Chargers had allowed 3.1 yards before contact per rush, third most in the NFL. ... When he left the pocket in the fourth quarter Monday, Mike Vick produced 111 total yards and a touchdown. On throws from inside the pocket in the fourth quarter, Vick was 3-of-8 for 29 yards.