Seahawks receiver Golden Tate scored the only two touchdowns in Seattle’s 14-9 win against the Rams, but after the game he was asked more about his taunting than his touchdowns.
On Tate’s 80-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter, he started waving at Rams safety Rodney McLeod around the 30-yard line, and the officials flagged him for taunting before he had even crossed the goal line. (Although in college football a taunting penalty during the play negates the touchdown, in the NFL it is enforced on the ensuing kickoff.)
Tate said on NFL Network after the game that he needs to “play a little smarter” and not draw penalties.
“That was immature of me,” Tate said. “I hurt my team. I’ve got to stay composed, play football, act like I’ve been there before. I’ve got to apologize to our special teams because I put them in an awkward situation. It won’t happen again. I’m going to move forward.”
Seahawks coach Pete Carroll greeted Tate on the sideline and gave him a scolding, and Tate said Carroll told him that if he wants to be considered one of the NFL’s great receivers, he needs to conduct himself like a professional.
“Be smart,” Tate said Carroll told him. “I’m a better player than that. If I want to be considered one of the better players, a Calvin Johnson, Dez Bryant, Demaryius Thomas, I’m going to have to act like I’ve been there before. That play right there hurt our team, could have given them momentum. It’s a learning moment for me so I’m going to move forward and not do it again.”
Tate was the only thing that worked for the Seahawks’ offense on Monday night: When passing to Tate, Russell Wilson went 5-for-7 for 93 yards, but on all of his other passes Wilson was 5-for-11 for 46 yards. So it’s a shame that Tate ended up drawing the wrong kind of attention to himself with the penalty, which detracted from some of the credit he got for his excellent game.
For players like Tate, and for Broncos cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who started celebrating 71 yards from the end zone on his touchdown Sunday, the player to emulate is Barry Sanders, who scored 109 touchdowns in his NFL career and never felt the need to showboat on any of them.