ATLANTA — During warm-ups, wide receiver Golden Tate had his helmet in his right hand and his head turned to the right.
He was casually walking out of the end zone in the Georgia Dome and talking to a teammate when he looked up and saw a punted football coming down near him.
Tate took a couple of quick steps forward then stuck out his left hand to stab the ball with one hand just outside of his hip.
So, when Tate stuck out that same left hand with one second remaining in the first half, it wasn’t much of a surprise he pulled in Russell Wilson’s pass for a 6-yard touchdown.
“We went into the game thinking we wanted to take advantage of their defensive backs and we did,” Tate said. “I knew if I had jumped he was going to push me out of bounds, so, what the heck, why not? It was a great ball, the ball was dry and a great play was made.”
A week after sitting in his corner locker at CenturyLink Field explaining the desperation he feels to make big plays, Tate made a trio of them Sunday.
His touchdown just before the end of the half on a third-and-5 play from the Atlanta 6 put the Seahawks in front 23-3.
Tate took a screen pass in the second quarter and zoomed 46 yards. He also was steps from breaking a punt return late in the second quarter when Falcons punter Matt Bosher shoved him out right before Tate gained the edge.
“Golden had a fantastic game,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said. “The catches he makes in practice all the time, he made today. I was thrilled to see the officials could see that he caught it with his one (hand).”
Tate leads the Seahawks in receptions and receiving yards. His six catches and 106 receiving yards Sunday were both season highs. At 41 catches for 574 yards, he’s on pace to blow by last season’s totals of 45 catches for 688 yards.
“It’s a special group and don’t let anyone tell you differently,” Tate said. “We have something great here and we know it.”