Marooned in the back area of the visitors’ locker room on Oct. 28 in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Golden Tate explained how he screwed up.
Tate made one of the most important plays of the year when he produced an 80-yard touchdown that was the deciding score in a 14-9 Seahawks win over the St. Louis Rams in Week 8. Tate jumped and outmuscled Janoris Jenkins, the cornerback covering him. He then ran away from pursuit by safety Rodney McLeod.
On his way to the end zone, he began waving goodbye to that failed pursuer. About 20 yards before he scored, a flag already was on the field. Less than a week later, $7,875 was removed from his pocket because of a fine from the NFL for taunting.
Tate said afterward that the Rams had been talking a lot. It got in his head. He’s not prone to silence in general, let alone when someone is giving him the business.
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He plans to avoid the penalties this week. But, also he will talk the talk.
“I’m a talker, we’re men here,” Tate said. “We’re competing on the football field. They’re out here trying to give concussions and tear ACLs on me. There’s going to be a little chatter.
“I’m just going to keep it within the rules. If I score, I won’t be waving bye to them as I’m running by them. I’ll just score the touchdown and get back in the huddle and try to score another one.”
The brash Tate wasn’t the only Seahawks player addressing comments from St. Louis players.
Veteran Michael Robinson said the Rams’ verbose approach began when head coach Jeff Fisher took over in 2012.
“They talk a lot more trash,” Robinson said. “I don’t know why.”
The Seahawks — from strutting cornerbacks to gyrating defensive ends — aren’t bashful. Tate’s Twitter handle is “ShowtimeTate,” and earlier this year he dove into the end zone with the ball outstretched in one hand and the other hand behind his head when he thought he had scored on a punt return. It was called back because of a penalty.
He concedes the discussions with the Rams are not one-way.
“Really since I’ve been there, they have been a chirpy group,” Tate said. “I think at times we can be a chirpy group, also. I don’t think there is anything wrong with it. I think we both have a lot of respect for each other.
“When you are playing this game, it’s tough not to start talking a little bit. It’s just part of having emotion in a game like this.”
With so much on the line Sunday against the Rams to close the regular season, emotions will be stratospheric. With a win, the Seahawks wrap up the NFC West, a first-round bye and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.
A loss could jettison the Seahawks to as low as the fifth seed, depending on other results. They could go from gripping the conference’s top seed most of the season to traveling for a road game wild card weekend.
That would lead to conversations no Seahawks players want to have.