Golden Tate caught the game-winning touchdown in the Eagles' 16-15 win Sunday over the Bears in Chicago.
But he didn't even know what route he was supposed to run until halfway through the play.
Tate admitted as much on the sideline. It was picked up by NFL Films' microphones.
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) January 9, 2019
Carson Wentz: That route was nasty. I mean, you gave him a look back.
Tate: Bro, I didn't even see him alert it!
Mike Wallace: What made you do it then?
Tate: I looked back and I saw him rolling!
The sprint out was the kill on the runs the Eagles ran on first and second down. Those two runs that went to Darren Sproles. So when Tate didn't hear the alert from Foles, he didn't begin running the sprint out right away. On the video of the play, you can see Tate look back at Foles and once he sees him running to that side, he takes off.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) January 8, 2019
I caught up with Wallace on Thursday to chat about the play. He said it was impressive recognition from Tate, but it comes with experience. He said all those meetings and film sessions pay off in that moment when Tate was forced to react instantly in a split-second.
We do this every single day, so it just becomes second nature to you. He's been in the league nine years. It's definitely impressive. Definitely an impressive play by him, but when you do this every single day, it just kind of comes natural and he's a smart player. Everybody knows that. You just see it. Natural instinct reaction. There's only one of two things, so he just made the right play, man. We needed it. It was so clutch.
The crazy thing is that not hearing the alert actually helped sell the route. When Tate turned around, he was clearly thinking he'd see the ball in Sproles' hand. So what looked like a head fake was just Tate learning in real time that he'd better run his route. That's what Wentz was praising on the sideline.
Maybe the Eagles ought to incorporate that head fake into the route from here on out.
"It was nice," Wallace said. "That's what sold it, I think. Because the guy didn't know he was doing it. He's like waiting and once he noticed it, he just turned his head and went. Natural reaction. But we might need to tell coach to put the head fake in. It was nice."
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