SAN DIEGO -- San Diego Chargers tight end Antonio Gates became the ninth player in NFL history to catch 100 career touchdown passes when he scored on a 12-yard pass from Philip Rivers with 9:06 left in the first quarter of a 24-20 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers on Monday.
Gates had three catches on the opening drive, which culminated in the touchdown, and he added his 101st career touchdown in the fourth quarter on an 11-yard pass from Rivers. Gates finished with nine catches for 92 yards and the pair of touchdowns.
Jerry Rice is the NFL career touchdown leader, with 197 TD catches. Gates tied Tim Brown and Steve Largent for seventh in NFL history with his first touchdown Monday, then moved into sole possession of seventh place all time with the second.
Gates is second among tight ends in league history. Tony Gonzalez is the position leader, with 111 touchdown receptions.
Rivers and Gates are tops in NFL history as a quarterback/tight end combination, with 74 touchdowns. Rivers' touchdown passes were the 261st and 262nd of career, which pushes him past Dave Krieg for 13th all time.
Gates made his 2015 debut Monday after serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's policy on performance-enhancing drugs.