The Chargers look to extend their winning streak to four when they face the Redskins at FedEx Field.
The only bad news for the Chargers came in the third quarter, when tight end Antonio Gates suffered a sprained foot following a 21-yard reception. He was forced to leave the game, but an MRI on Monday revealed no significant damage.
Gates practiced for the second day in a row Friday and reported no setbacks with the injury. He is listed as questionable for Sunday, and coach Marty Schottenheimer said he would make a game-time decision regarding his top pass-catcher’s availability.
“It was basically the same as yesterday—it got a little bit better,” Gates said. “I think it’s still going to be a game-time decision for us.”
Gates caught 30 passes on third down for 358 yards and six touchdowns last season. He set an NFL record for tight ends with 13 touchdown receptions, helping the Chargers to a 12-4 record and the AFC West title.
Gates leads the team this season with 56 receptions, 784 yards and seven TDs.
Schottenheimer is relieved Gates is preparing to play Sunday.
“You don’t want to see any player sustain any kind of injury,” Schottenheimer said. “In his case, he’s a big part of what we’re doing overall as a football team. But we have the good fortune of the football gods smiling on all of us.”
Schottenheimer will try to become the second former Redskins coach in two weeks to win at Washington after Norv Turner led Oakland to a 16-13 victory last week.
The Chargers are trailing first-place Denver in the West, tied with Kansas City for second place. San Diego finishes the regular season with games against the Chiefs and Broncos.
Although the Redskins have lost two straight and three of four, they have been a very good home team, winning four of five games at FedEx Field.
Washington has had six games this season decided by three points or fewer, including Sunday’s 16-13 loss to the Raiders. Washington squandered a 10-point lead at halftime and fumbled three times.
“We lost it, we’ve got to deal with it,” Washington linebacker LaVar Arrington said. “This team has got to cross over from being close to winning games to understanding that we can win those games.”
Turnovers continue to be a problem for the Redskins, who have fumbled 21 times and lead the NFL with 15 fumbles lost.
“We talk about it every day. We practice it. We do all kinds of stuff,” tight end Chris Cooley said. “We talk about turnovers, and we turn the ball over. The ball gets hit, it comes out, it’s just something that happens.”
Washington has fallen two games behind Dallas and the New York Giants in the NFC East.