SEATTLE — While a good portion of the CenturyLink Field crowd — including a few Seahawks coaches and teammates — screamed, “No!” all Golden Tate heard in his mind was, “Yes.”
With his Seattle team trailing the Tampa Bay Buccaneers by 10 points in the third quarter Sunday, Tate stood underneath a towering punt from Michael Koenen looking to make something happen.
Conventional football thinking says you never field a punt inside your own 10-yard line. Too many things can go wrong, and few things can go right. But since being drafted in the second round out of Notre Dame in 2010, Tate has shown he doesn’t always follow football’s steadfast rules.
“The coaching staff trusts me to make great judgments,” he said. “I thought that was a judgment call.”
So after drifting back inside his own 10-yard line and then the 5, Tate fielded the punt on the 4 instead of letting it bounce into the end zone for the touchback.
“I felt like I had the opportunity to make something happen,” he said.
And he did.
Tate gathered the punt. He passed one defender, stepped out of the tackle of another, then another, broke another tackle, ran past two defenders and kept going. He evaded two more defenders before finally being forced out of bounds 71 yards later.
“We were down, and we needed something to happen,” Tate said. “I thought I would have some room, and I did. Although I caught it on the 4, I thought I had a solid 15 yards to run so at worst I would get it to the 20.”
It left his coach going wild.
“I loved Golden’s explosive punt return,” said Pete Carroll, who sprinted down the sideline after him during the play. “That just kind of let you know that we’re here, that we’re coming for this win. It was an incredible play.”
Never lacking confidence, Tate believes he can and will make those plays every game.
“I don’t want to sound cocky or arrogant, but when this team needs a play to be made, I want the ball in my hands some way or another,” he said.
Tate not only praised himself, but he complimented the guys blocking him on the run.
“They’re working their tails off every single time, and we strongly believe that we can change games on special teams, and that’s what we did,” he said. “There was great blocking up front. And once I got the ball in my hand, I just played backyard football.”
OFFENSIVE LINE SHUFFLED
Seattle’s depleted offensive line took another blow Sunday when Pro Bowl center Max Unger left in the fourth quarter because of a concussion.
Unger didn’t want to talk after the game, but he did say he was all right.
Of the Seahawks’ injuries Sunday — a stinger for linebacker Bruce Irvin, quarterback Russell Wilson’s overall beating — Unger’s concerned Carroll the most.
“Max’s got a concussion,” Carroll said. “We’ll find out what that means (going forward).”
Even before Unger was replaced by Lemuel Jeanpierre, the Seahawks made a temporary switch. Left guard James Carpenter was removed, rookie Alvin Bailey was put at left tackle and Paul McQuistan slid from tackle to guard.
“We wanted to get Alvin going a little bit,” Carroll said. “We’ve waited a long time to give him a shot. We’d like to get him a little bit more as we go and see if we can bring him along.”
The same could be said of left tackle Russell Okung (toe) and right tackle Breno Giacomini (knee).
Both worked out before the game with offensive line coach Tom Cable and are expected at practice Wednesday. Giacomini can play whenever he is ready. Okung can’t play until Nov. 17 against the Minnesota Vikings because he was placed on short-term injury reserve with a return designation.
“We’ll see them next week,” Carroll said. “We’re really excited about that.”
Seattle’s Marshawn Lynch carried 21 times for a season-high 125 yards Sunday.
It was the expected emphasis after Lynch carried just eight times against the St. Louis Rams last Monday.
Lynch carried six times in the first half Sunday because he was sick, Carroll said. Lynch then received a lot of work in the second half.
“He was just a warrior out there,” Carroll said.
But the Bucs countered with an equally effective rushing game. After allowing 200 yards rushing against
St. Louis, Seattle gave up 205 to Tampa Bay.
It was the first time since November 2002 that the Seahawks allowed at least 200 yards rushing in back-to-back games.
The Seahawks honored the 1983 squad — the first playoff team in franchise history — at halftime. ... Wide receiver Ricardo Lockette made his first catch of the season. ... There were 67,873 tickets distributed Sunday.