Before Monday’s game, Golden Tate joked with teammates that if he scored, he was going to do the “worm” in celebration.
He wasn’t serious.
But after Carson Wentz hit Tate on a six-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter of Monday night’s 28-13 win over the Redskins (see Roob's observations), the veteran receiver was tackled at the end of the play and found himself face down in the end zone.
“I was on the ground, so I said why not,” Tate said with a smile after the game.
So he rolled over, got to his knees and then let his body limply flail around the northeast end zone in celebration.
This was fun. This was what we all expected from Golden Tate.
This was why the Eagles traded for him.
The 30-year-old receiver, who joined the Birds at the trade deadline, finally had his breakout game. He caught seven passes for 85 yards and a touchdown and even caught a two-point conversion late in the game.
Even better than the stats was that Tate felt like his production Monday night was “really organic.”
For the first time in the four games since the Eagles shipped a third-round pick to Detroit to get Tate, they not only got him involved, but it felt like they got him involved naturally. They didn’t try to shoe-horn him into the offense. He was just another weapon at their disposal and he made a huge impact.
Tate admitted it was “frustrating” that he wasn’t able to have his usual production in his first few games as an Eagle but said it was only frustrating because the team wasn’t having success. Now, the Eagles are having success and they’re doing it with him involved in the game plan.
“[Tate] deserves it,” said Nelson Agholor, whose snaps and production have probably been hurt the most since Tate’s arrival. “He’s a great player. We know what we got in him. You know what? Everybody’s gotta eat, man. We get opportunities, we have to make plays.”
Perhaps the best sign from Tate all game came on the first drive of the game before the touchdown. On 1st-and-15, Wentz was able to buy some time and rolled to his left. As he did so, he frantically motioned for Tate to head down the sideline.
Eventually, Tate got the message and Wentz dropped in a perfect pass and allowed Tate to run for a 19-yard gain. He picked up some of that YAC he’s known for.
But the play was so important because it’s a timing play between two guys who are still getting used to playing with one another. All the time they’ve been spending on the football field and off the football field (they had Thanksgiving dinner together) since the trade seems to be paying off.
“Those are things that you really can’t practice,” Tate said. “It comes with the relationship you have.”
After extended stays in Seattle and Detroit to start his career, Tate admitted he almost forgot how challenging it can be to build chemistry with a new quarterback, especially without the benefit of offseason workouts or training camp. He and Wentz have been forced to learn how to play with one another on the fly.
“Every week, every practice, every opportunity with Golden is an opportunity to build that relationship, build that chemistry,” Wentz said. “Tonight, he made some great plays, made some great plays after the catch too, which is big. It was good to finally get him in the end zone.”
And when Tate got in the end zone, he knew what to do.
This is starting to get fun.
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