At age 36 the Atlanta Falcons tight end is at the top of his game and shows no signs of slowing down (well unless he retires at the end of this year…but we’ll save that topic for a different post). This weeks matchup against Oakland brings quite the adrenaline rush for Tony Gonzalez as he is all to familiar with the Raiders. In the 12 seasons spent as a Kansas City Chief, prior to joining the Atlanta Falcons for the 2009 season, Gonzalez produced top notch performances in rival match-ups against Oakland.
As a Chief, Gonzalez boasted 121 career receptions and 1,473 receiving yards in 24 games against Oakland. His longest catch of 73 yards also was achieved against Oakland. Facing the Raiders twice a season while he played in Kansas City has groomed him well for this weekend. It’s also a confidence booster to be sitting pretty atop the NFL ranks with 39 receptions in his first five games. With a touchdown in each game but one so far this season, Gonzalez is one touch down away from hitting the century club and being the eighth player in league history with 100 receiving touchdowns.
Gonzalez is focused on going out and bringing home another win for the undefeated Falcons, but let’s keep it real…this game is also a great opportunity to pad his stats a bit and give us another performance to talk about. As a Chief, the match-ups against the Raiders were highly charged and knowing what he can accomplish against Oakland combined with the fact that the Raidersare ranked 28th against the pass definitely re-ignites that old rivalry fire in Gonzalez. The Raiders have given up 4 touchdowns in 4 games to tight ends so far this season and Gonzalez’s will look to capitalize on that in Sundays game to put a few points up on the board for the Falcons but also hit touchdown 100.
While Gonzalez insists he’s 95% sure this season will be his last, all of Falcon nation is praying that he continues to break records, win games, and help carry the Falcons to a solid post-season performance so he hopefully can muster up at least one more season for the Falcon faithful. Gonzalez has a successful track record against the Raiders and Sunday’s game should be exciting as he relives his early days as a Chief and the rivalry once had. Expect Gonzalez to step onto the field with dose of nostalgia and the fervor to dominate and go undefeated for the sixth straight week.