With the Eagles trailing 15-10 and the season on the line with a fourth-and-goal and just over a minute to play, head coach Doug Pederson and quarterback Nick Foles called a play designed for an unexpected target.
It wasn't top wide receiver Alshon Jeffery. It wasn't receptions-leader Zach Ertz. It wasn't wide receiver Nelson Agholor who had two touchdowns in the red zone last week.
The play went to wide receiver Golden Tate, who the Eagles acquired at the trade deadline in October for a third-round pick and who only had one touchdown in eight regular-season games as an Eagle.
The nine-year veteran was up for the task. He pulled in a tough grab and fell into the front right corner of the end zone to silence a rocking Solider Field and send Philadelphia into a frenzy.
"Just a great play call by Doug and my number was called I knew I had to make a play, and Nick just dropped a dime," Tate said. "He threw it so only I could catch it. I just happened to have an opportunity to make a difference, to give the city something to cheer for, and we did something big on the road against a really, really good team. So, I'm excited."
Tate finished the day as the Eagles' third-leading receiver with five receptions for 46 yards.
He had a 28-yard reception on a third down in the second quarter that he held onto as he took the helmet of safety Adrian Amos to the arm. He appeared to be hurt briefly before standing up, gesturing toward to the end zone to signal the first down.
His arm was just fine as he pulled in the score that gave the Eagles a 16-15 lead after an unsuccessful two-point try with 56 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. The stakes could not have been higher for the Eagles' offense. Tate described the attitude of the huddle before his decisive touchdown.
"Composed," Tate said. "And I think it starts at our quarterback. We have a quarterback that just wants to live in the now. It doesn't matter what happened earlier in the game, just stay composed and let the game come to us and at the end, we just had an opportunity to make a play. But I can't say it was me. We moved the ball very well down the field when it mattered and just the last play, my number was called."
In eight games with the Eagles this season, Tate had 30 receptions for 278 yards and one touchdown. Offensive coordinator Mike Groh said earlier in the season that it was a challenge integrating him into the offense. Tate made plays when it counted on Sunday and showed the depth of the Eagles' offensive attack. It's hard work paying off for Tate, who knows how far he has come to make a play that will live in Eagles history.
"It's been challenging but as far as the personnel, the people, the receivers have welcomed me amazingly," Tate said. "That makes it easier. Since then it's been trying to learn the offense as fast as I can to help us and gain the trust of the quarterbacks and just do my part. I got an opportunity tonight to make some plays and I made a few."
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