On the opening drive of Monday's 28-13 win over Washington, as the Eagles looked to avoid another slow start in a game they had to have, Showtime Tate was on display.
With an impressive improvised catch and an eventual touchdown reception, wide receiver Golden Tate set the tone for his best game as an Eagle. He finished with seven catches for a team-high 85 yards with a touchdown and a crucial two-point conversion.
Tate said there was no pressure to have a game like that, but he was glad to see his hard work pay off.
"Tonight was fun," said Tate, who was acquired from Detroit at the trade deadline. "We executed. But I have to say, it started early this week. We knew that if we have a great practice, we have a great chance of winning the game, and I thought the intensity was up in practice. I think that helped coming into this game being confident and ready to go."
The fun started right away.
Facing a first-and-15 on the opening drive following a possibly momentum-killing false start penalty, quarterback Carson Wentz dropped back, found no one open, ran out of the pocket, and motioned toward Tate. The message was received, and Tate eluded linebacker Zach Brown, turned on the jets, and got open downfield. Wentz dropped a perfect rainbow pass for 19 yards and a first down.
Tate said he has spent extra time after practice working with Wentz to develop a chemistry that isn't there right away for a player new to the team. That work was on full display.
"Those are things that you really can't practice," Tate said. "Something that just kind of comes with the relationship you have. I just took off and he dropped an absolute dime on the run. If we can get more stuff like that, I think we're going to be really good."
Seven plays later, to cap off a drive that took more than half of the first quarter, Tate improvised in the end zone as the play broke down and got open in the back corner. Wentz scrambled right, cut back left, and threw a dart to Tate for the touchdown. It was his first as an Eagle.
Tate, who was already laying down on the grass when he finished the reception, broke out into a worm dance to celebrate the score the team had to have.
"I said if I score, I'm going to do the worm, but I was kind of kidding," Tate said. "But I was on the ground, so I said, why not.
"We wanted to start fast. That was one of our main goals going into this week," he added. "I was just happy I was able to help the team this week, make some key plays to help us score, and get my first ever touchdown as an Eagle."
"I feel with every week, every practice, kind of every opportunity with Golden is just an opportunity to build that relationship, build that chemistry," Wentz said in his postgame press conference. "Tonight, he made some great plays. He made some great plays after the catch, too, which is big. It was good to finally get him in the end zone too."
Tate added five more receptions on the night. One was a third-down conversion in Washington territory in which he caught the ball short of the first-down marker, shook off a defender, and ran 32 yards into the red zone demonstrating his yards after the catch ability.
He had two receptions on a drive in the fourth quarter that ended in an Eagles field goal. And after the Eagles scored an early fourth-quarter touchdown to go up by seven, he fought off defender and hauled in a tough pass to convert the two-point try and give the Eagles a two-possession lead.
"He's kind of found a rhythm," head coach Doug Pederson said. "He's kind of understanding the offense a little bit more. I think tonight it was really good to see because the ball got spread around a little bit in the passing game, and he had a nice night tonight."
Tate stood out among five receivers with three or more receptions and a ground game that picked up 130 yards. His big-play ability opened up the offense and gave the Eagles a spark when they needed one.
Monday night was the type of performance Eagles fans were looking forward to when he was added at the trade deadline. While his night was impressive, Tate was more excited about getting the win.
"I'm not too big on the individual stats," Tate said. "Don't get me wrong, it feels good. But that first touchdown doesn't mean anything if we don't win this ballgame. What's going to stand out in my mind is not me scoring but celebrating with my team, having that feeling coming into this locker room, looking up, and seeing our fan base go crazy at home. That's what special for me."
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