The expectations heading into this season were that Golden Tate would take over the mantle as the Detroit Lions’ No. 1 receiver. Following the retirement of Calvin Johnson, someone had to provide Matthew Stafford with that consistent targets.
Considering Tate had put up 189 receptions for over 2,100 yards in the previous two seasons, he figured to be the one to step up.
Through the first four games of the season, this simply didn’t happen. In his first four Johnson-less games, Tate put up 14 receptions for 95 yards.
This led to him being benched during an embarrassing Week 4 performance that saw the former Notre Dame standout put up one catch for a single yard against the Chicago Bears.
For Tate, this benching acted as motivation.
“(The Chicago game) kind of lit a fire under my tail a little bit. I had to dig deep a little bit. I had to soul search and think about some things,” Tate said, via NFL.com. “But it just came down to one thing for me — be confident in who I am as a player, work my tail off and control what I can control. And that’s when the ball is thrown my way, make something happen.”
After putting up three receptions for 39 yards the following week, Tate has absolutely dominated the scene in Detroit. In the team’s past two games, both wins, Tate has caught 14-of-22 targets for 258 yards and a touchdown.
Needless to say, Tate was put on notice by head coach Jim Caldwell and Co., and has since responded with electric performances in two consecutive games. Now at 4-3 on the season and in playoff contention, the Lions are looking for Tate to continue this excellent performance.