The Patriots paid particular attention to Chargers TE Antonio Gates to a degree and with a commitment Gates hadn't seen before.
"They made it difficult for me to make a play on the ball," Gates said. "Every time I looked around there were two guys on me. They wanted to take me out of the game, and that's what they did."
The Chargers tried to counter it. Gates and Vincent Jackson switched positions, with Gates outside and Jackson moving into the slot. It didn't matter. The Patriots stuck with Gates, hitting him on the line, covering him with another player and frequently bracketing him downfield.