Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate has to be licking his chops for tonight's huge game against the New Orleans Saints.
The Seahawks' fourth-year receiver always seems to come up big on Monday nights, and with the Saints playing without top corner Jabari Greer and with Percy Harvin unlikely to go, Tate could be in for another big prime-time game.
You just have to hope he leaves out the controversy this time.
The prime-time spotlight has shined brightly on Tate the past two times the Hawks have played on Monday night.
Early last season, Tate was the beneficiary of a friendly call by replacement officials on a last-play Hail Mary score against Green Bay. Tate did a good enough job of fooling the official into thinking he had more of the ball than the defender, and the Hawks walked off with a gift 14-12 win that gave Tate his first taste of national notoriety.
Earlier this season, Tate came up big again. He scored both touchdowns in a 14-9 win over St. Louis, although he also showed his immaturity when he taunted on an 80-yard touchdown pass from Russell Wilson.
Tate has chilled out since that Week 8 win. He had perhaps the best game of his career two weeks later in Atlanta, catching six passes for 106 yards and an amazing one-handed touchdown, and he was all business -- not a sign of disrespect or showboating.
Sticking with his "now you see me, now you don't" season, Tate disappeared in Seattle's last game, against Minnesota. With the spotlight on Harvin's debut, Tate didn't get much action, catching one pass on four targets for 26 yards.
Like all of the receivers in Seattle's up-and-down offense, Tate's season has been a rollercoaster. It has been an almost every-other-game deal, catching four or five passes one game and then not doing much the next.
His two best games have come in the past four weeks: five catches for 93 yards and the two scores at St. Louis and the big game in Atlanta -- without the antics.
He seems very focused on the team now. When word emerged that cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Brandon Browner were being suspended (Browner's appeal is pending), Tate was disappointed that teammates would jeopardize their participation in Seattle's stellar season.
“It’s definitely poor judgment,” Tate told 710 ESPN. “It’s very unfortunate, and you would think that guys would really find what we’ve got going more important. I don’t want to talk down or think bad of any of these guys, but what we have right now is way too important to jeopardize that, to yourself and to this team, because really you’re affecting way more than yourself.
“I feel like that was kind of a selfish move on both those guys’ part, … but the show must go on, and that’s what we’re going to do.”
The show goes prime time tonight.
“We have a really good defense and our offense is actually just now … starting to figure it out," he said. "We’re making big plays and we’re the most explosive team offensively in the NFL. So all we’ve got to do is just do what we do.”
According to the calendar, Tate will do his part tonight. After all, it is Monday night.