It’s starting to become obvious that Golden Tate, despite his small stature and slow development, is turning into something special. The Seahawks receiver keeps coming up with not only amazing catches, but even more amazing runs after the catch. Every week there seems to be another Golden Tate gem in clutch situations where he makes a difficult catch followed by a long run through a defensive secondary for a first down or score.
This week’s contributions to the “WOW! list”; an over the top scoring grab right off the helmet of a Jets defender three plays into the Hawks first possession, followed by a quick turn into the end zone; and later a touchdown throw to fellow receiver Sydney Rice to ice the game in the forth quarter.
Last week against the Vikings Tate had a catch and run for a TD that looked more like a pinball bouncing and banging off the bumpers than an undersized receiver shredding an NFL defense for a score. That one ended in an acrobatic leap into the end zone. He lost the ball in the air but the refs gave him the score, which drew the attention of Pete Carroll at the after game press conference. Carroll said he would “talk to Golden about that leap” and maybe advise him to keep his feat a little closer to the ground. You could see the results of the coaches talk this week when Tate was running after a catch and although he did leap, it was more like a hurdle than a swan dive. On the same play he angled his pads to absorb a hit and when the hit came it actually broke him free for more yardage. Tate has a great ability to absorb hits and bounce off, on his feet and under control.
But catching the ball is not Tate’s only contribution. The guy can block. In a home game against the Cowboys Tate gave Sean Lee a hit he probably won’t remember, because it knocked him out. The common term for that kind of hit is a “decleating”, which definitely describes this one. Lee was pursuing a scrambling Russell Wilson and and didn’t see Tate coming. Tate went low and hit Lee in the chest, launching him off his feet like he’d been standing on an stunt man’s spring board. The hit drew Ooh’s and Ah’s from the crowd, but drew a $10,000 fine from the NFL. Oh well, such is the price of making a name for yourself.
Tate, who became a household name as “the guy who stole the game from the Green Bay Packers” on Monday Night Football (he even got his own “Hitler reacts to Golden Tate’s touchdown” parody on YouTube) is now making his mark as one of the “go to” guys for Seahawks QB Russell Wilson. Tate is currently Seattle’s second leading receiver after Rice, with 24 receptions for 283 yards, and 5 TDs. The coaching staff is happy to see Tate make the good kind of leap — in his development, having seen his raw talent early on but also his lack of disciplined route running. That all now appears to be well behind Golden Tate in year 3 of what looks to be career on the rise.