In the days leading up to Sunday’s game against the Eagles, Lions offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter predicted that wide receiver Golden Tate would have a “huge game” after getting one catch for one yard in Week Four.
Tate didn’t quite meet that bar, but he did have a huge play a week after seeing his playing time get cut following a miscommunication with quarterback Matthew Stafford. Tate made a 27-yard gain late in the fourth quarter to get the Lions a first down they needed to set up Matt Prater’s game-winning field goal. Unlike last week, the play saw Tate and Stafford on the same page after Tate adjusted to a deeper crossing route to account for Eagles linebacker Nigel Bradham.
“Just kind of fell through some linebackers,” Tate said, via MLive.com. “It all happened so quickly. There was one more linebacker there, and just a hell of a throw by Matt. He trusted me, floated it past the linebacker that I was behind on a dime, and just made a play. It’s been a slow four weeks for me, so I just had to dig deep.”
Tate finished the day with three catches and also carried the ball three times as the Lions tweaked their offense to feature Tate in the backfield. His presence in that spot seemed to throw the Eagles and help open the door for a Theo Riddick touchdown, something that made for a huge difference a week after Tate was an afterthought.