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I originaly thought that we had thrown less this year than last year in the first four games but was shocked when I did the math and learned that we've actually thrown more this year (by two passes).
11 passes vs the Raiders (threw to 5 different receivers)
36 passes vs the Titans (threw to 9 different receivers)
23 passes vs the Ravens (threw to 7 different receivers)
37 passes vs the Steelers (threw to 7 different receivers)
for a total of 107 passes
now compare that to last years first four games.
35 passes vs the Cowboys (threw to 5 different receivers)
23 passes vs the Broncos (threw to 5 different receivers)
23 passes vs the Giants (threw to 6 different receivers)
24 passes vs the Patriots (threw to 8 different receivers)
for a total of 105 passes
So why are gates numbers down? Well I think it's clear that Rivers spreads the ball around a lot more than Brees did. Brees was very comfortable throwing to Gates and it shows in the stats.
I'm not sure that Gates lack of production...scratch that, lack of stats is a bad thing. I think it just means we have a better throwing game than last year. I don't think it's anything to be worried about. Gates has one more TD's (2) than he did last year (1) within the first 4 games and we all know that Tight Ends are usually measured TD's scored.