SAN FRANCISCO – Golden Tate made it through the season without a drop last year, but two missed catches against San Francisco on Thursday dramatically changed the game.
“I had a few opportunities where I could have made some plays, and I didn’t come through,” Tate said. “It’s uncharacteristic of me. But I’m not discouraged at all. I’m going to continue to work hard, and I’ll be back next week.”
Tate’s miscues were two of five drops by Seattle receivers in a tight game where the margin for error was razor thin in order to beat one of the best teams in the league.
Tate’s first chance occurred with two minutes left in the half, when Russell Wilson tried to connect with him on a deep ball, but San Francisco safety Dashon Goldson forced him out-of-bounds.
Tate still managed to get a hand of the ball.
Wilson went back to Tate again on the very next play, but unlike the simultaneous, game-winning catch against Green Bay, Tate failed to reel in a jump ball with San Francisco cornerback Chris Culliver defending.
Seattle went into halftime leading 6-3, but dominated play in the first half and could have been ahead by more.
“I feel like I definitely should have made one of those, and that’s all we needed,” Tate said. “We needed one of those to be caught, and we would’ve scored or got a field goal before the half. And we would’ve taken the momentum into halftime.”
On the opening drive of the third quarter, on a third and 2 from San Francisco’s 43-yard line, Tate dropped a perfect pass from Wilson on a slant route with plenty of room to run.
“I tried to make a body catch when I should’ve caught it with my hands,” Tate said. “Looking at the replay, I felt I could’ve done what I do best, which is getting some yards after the catch.”
Seattle coach Pete Carroll benched Tate in favor of Braylon Edwards for the next series. Tate later returned to the field at the end of the game.
“We just wanted to see what Braylon could do, get him in there and play him some,” said Carroll about Edwards, who played for San Francisco last year. “He’s a good football player. He wanted to play against these guys, and just see if someone could get hot.
“Our guys are close enough in the level of competition, that we can go to those guys and give them an opportunity.”
Along with Tate’s two drops, rookie running back Robert Turbin couldn’t handle a deep pass by Wilson on the opening drive down the sideline deep in San Francisco territory that he could have ran in for a touchdown.
The Seahawks had to settle for a Steven Hauschka 52-yard field goal.
Tight end Even Moore also failed to come up with a contested, deep pass on the sidelines in the second quarter. And Marshawn Lynch dropped a pass out in the flat on a third down in the fourth quarter that could have kept a drive alive.
While some receivers were dropping passes, Seattle’s leading pass catcher Sidney Rice was targeted only once, a 27-yard reception in the second quarter, before seeing the ball thrown his way again with just over five minutes remaining in the game.
Rice finished with two receptions for 32 yards, and was targeted four times. Rice declined to talk to reporters after the game.
In Seattle’s last two wins, Rice was targeted 12 times, and finished with eight receptions for 148 yards and a touchdown.
“It’s just the way the game came off,” Carroll said about Rice’s lack of touches early on.
Added Wilson: “Sidney and I are really close, and he’s just a guy that loves to compete and play at the highest level. Obviously I want to get the ball to Sidney as much as I can, and to the rest of the guys, too.”
Cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring) was inactive. It’s the third game that Maxwell has not been active because of an injury. Maxwell was inactive for the Arizona game because of a shoulder injury, and did not play in the Green Bay game because of a hamstring injury. Maxwell was listed as doubtful on Seattle’s injury report Wednesday. … Offensive lineman John Moffitt missed his fourth straight game with a knee issue, but is expected to practice next week in anticipation of being healthy enough for the Detroit game Oct. 28. … Other inactive players for Seattle were receiver Charly Martin, safety Winston Guy, cornerback Danny Gorrer, offensive lineman J.R. Sweezy, and defensive tackle Jaye Howard. … For San Francisco, offensive lineman Joe Staley (concussion) was active and started at left tackle. Staley was listed as questionable on the team’s injury report. However, receiver Mario Manningham (shoulder) did not play for San Francisco. … Seattle linebacker Malcolm Smith suffered a concussion on the opening kickoff and did not return. … Receiver Doug Baldwin suffered an ankle sprain in the second half and did not return.Eric D. Williams: 253-597-8437 firstname.lastname@example.org @eric_d_williams blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks