When the Philadelphia Eagles acquired veteran wide receiver Golden Tate at the NFL trade deadline back in October, there was an expectation that he would provide a big boost to the offense and draw some attention away from Alshon Jeffery.
However, that was not the case initially as the Eagles struggled to get Tate involved in the passing game over the next few games after the bye week (Cowboys, Saints, Giants). In those three games, he had 11 receptions on 20 targets for 97 yards and zero touchdowns.
With those stats in mind, Eagles fans began to wonder if the team made the correct trade, especially with Amari Cooper finding success in Dallas. They also looked squarely at the ineptitude of the offensive coaching staff for Tate’s lack of production.
But on Monday night, Tate finally had that breakout game which helped the Eagles secure their second-straight victory and put them in striking distance of winning the NFC East.
The 30-year-old wide receiver made his presence felt immediately as quarterback Carson Wentz hit him for a 19-yard reception up the sideline on their opening offensive possession.
Then a few plays later, the duo connected again, this time in the red zone with Wentz scrambling and finding Tate in the end zone for a touchdown. That was the theme of the night as it seemed like the third-year quarterback and veteran wideout were in sync.
After the game, Wentz spoke about the developing chemistry between him and Tate. “Yes. I feel with every week, every practice, kind of every opportunity with Golden is just an opportunity to build that relationship, build that chemistry,” he said.
“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.”
Speaking of his great plays after the catch, Tate had 8.2 yards after the catch per reception, which was higher than his xYAC/R of 4.2 (expected yards after the catch per receptions). He ultimately finished the game with seven receptions on seven targets for 85 yards.
The last time the 30-year-old wideout had at least seven catches in a game was back in Week 8 against the Seattle Seahawks. He had seven receptions on 12 targets for 50 yards.
Nevertheless, the veteran wideout just wanted to be ready when his number was called, despite being frustrated at times.
“I just wanted to be available when my time came and I wanted to help this team win and win a lot. Last week was a good win, this week is a good win, and hopefully, individually, I just keep gaining the trust of the quarterback and the guys around me and we just keep balling.”
If Tate can play an integral part in the offense for the rest of the month that should bode well for the Eagles’ playoff chances down the stretch. When everybody is catching the ball as we saw on Monday night, it makes the passing game that much more dangerous to cover.
Up next, the defending Super Bowl champs have a pivotal road test against the Cowboys on Sunday, with the winner more than likely taking the division crown.