DETROIT – During the Seattle Seahawks’ three-day break after a disappointing loss to San Francisco on Oct. 18, receiver Golden Tate traveled home to Nashville, Tenn., to watch his younger brother Wesley play running back for Vanderbilt.
The quick trip served as a good time to get around family and refocus after a poor performance by Tate, who dropped two passes and finished without a catch for the first time as a starter in his three-year NFL career.
Tate’s struggles caused Seattle coach Pete Carroll to re-open the competition at split end between the Notre Dame product and eight-year veteran Braylon Edwards.
It also served as a not-so subtle reminder for Tate to understand that doing the little things are important.
“I couldn’t wait to get back on the field,” Tate said. “Get back working, and get that last memory out of my head. It was a long weekend. I had a lot of time to think. Mentally, I was ready to get back on the field the next day after that performance, but physically my body needed to rest.
“I had to refocus, and just keep competing and keep playing, and it’s going to come.”
Carroll did not say which receiver will start against the Lions today, going only so far as noting that both Tate and Edwards will see playing time.
“Both of those guys will play at that spot,” Carroll said. “I know that Golden was really disappointed in his game and he wanted to get back going and on track. He didn’t feel good about some of the plays where the ball wasn’t coming to him.
“He’s worked very hard to make sure that he was competing every single play to be in the right spot and do the right things. He put together a solid week so I’m expecting him to make some plays for us.”
Tate has had an up-and-down season in his first year as a regular starter.
His performance against Green Bay served as the high, when Tate hauled in the wining score in a debatable touchdown catch that gave Seattle a win over the Packers on Monday Night Football.
And Tate’s struggles catching the football a week ago against NFC West division rival San Francisco probably was the low. In total, Tate has 13 catches for 191 yards and three touchdowns this season as Seattle’s deep threat at split end.
The Seahawks would like to create more explosive plays in the passing game, but that’s hard to do when rookie Russell Wilson is averaging a league-low 25 passing attempts a contest. So Tate understands each time the ball comes his way, he needs to make the best of his opportunities.
“I took some time to really do some thinking about what I can do better to help this team,” Tate said, “and how I can make sure I don’t have any more drops this year.”
And how does he plan on doing that?
“Just worrying about stuff I can control,” Tate said. “Just focusing on doing my job, and not worrying about other people’s jobs, and what they’re doing. Just focusing on me being the best I can be.”
Like Tate, Wilson isn’t concerned about how many chances he gets to air it out. He knows it's more important how Seattle performs with those precious opportunities.
“It doesn’t matter what it is,” Wilson said. “I don’t care what it is. I don’t care if it’s one, two or 32 – or 52 – it’s just making enough throws to win the game.
“I think the key is just – in terms of the passing game – is to continue to work on our third down and in the red zone, just capitalize when we get those opportunities.”
SEATTLE (4-3) AT DETROIT (2-4)
10 A.M., FORD FIELD
TV: Ch. 13. RADIO: 710-AM, 97.3-FM.
THE SERIES: The Seahawks own a 7-4 edge in the series. Seattle has won the past three in a row. The last time they were in Detroit, the Seahawks took home a 9-6 win in the 2006 season opener on Sept. 10. In the most recent meeting between the teams, the Seahawks overcame a 17-point deficit for a 32-20 victory on Nov. 8, 2009, in Seattle.
WHAT TO WATCH: Defensive tackle Jason Jones is doubtful for today’s game, and he did not practice all week because of an ankle injury. If Jones can’t play, expect rookie defensive tackle Greg Scruggs to get more playing time as an inside rusher in passing situations. Offensive lineman John Moffitt, who missed four games with a knee injury, practiced this week and is questionable for today. If available, Moffitt would serve as a backup against Detroit. Receiver Doug Baldwin (ankle) and cornerback Byron Maxwell (hamstring) have been ruled out of today’s contest. Running back Marshawn Lynch (back) is probable. Rookie quarterback Russell Wilson needs to play better on the road. Wilson has thrown just two touchdowns and seven interceptions away from CenturyLink Field, and has a 55.7 passer rating (31st in the league) on the road. Seattle is 1-3 in those games.
TNT PICK: Lions, 21-17
No. Name (position) Ht.Wt.Year
60 Max Unger (C) 6-5305fourth
The University of Oregon product and the rest of Seattle’s offensive line have to neutralize Detroit’s talented defensive front.
24 Marshawn Lynch (RB) 5-11215sixth
Lynch has rushed for at least 100 yards in nine of his past 16 games, and the Seahawks need another strong effort from their pace-setting runner.
25 Richard Sherman (CB) 6-3195second
The Stanford product needs to play well when matched up against Calvin Johnson, one of the most explosive receivers in the league.
29 Earl Thomas (FS) 5-10202third
Seattle’s corners are going to need some help in containing Johnson, so expect Thomas to provide some on the back end of the defense.
No. Name (position) Ht.Wt.Year
9 Matthew Stafford (QB) 6-3232fourth
Stafford is going to take some risks in the passing game, but he has to capitalize in the red zone for scores.
81 Calvin Johnson (WR) 6-5236sixth
Lions’ go-to receiver is motivated. He will look to get into the end zone a couple times against Seattle’s lanky corners.
90 Ndamukong Suh (DT) 6-4307third
Suh is tied for second on the team with 3.5 sacks. He will be gunning for Russell Wilson.
58 Ashlee Palmer (LB) 6-1236fourth
A former teammate of Lynch’s at Buffalo, he will likely replace injured linebacker DeAndre Levy in the starting lineup.thenewstribune.com blog.thenewstribune.com/seahawks