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Golden Tate has key touchdown, costly penalty in loss

By Brady Henderson

Golden Tate didn’t have much to say about his key touchdown catch that gave the Seahawks a 10-point fourth-quarter lead.

He had something to get off his chest — his penalty that helped the Redskins answer with a score of their own.

“I want to apologize to the team, to the fans, to the special teams, to coaches for the celebration,” he said after the Seahawks’ 23-17 loss on Sunday at CenturyLink Field.

Golden Tate’s TD celebration drew a 15-yard penalty. (AP)

With the Seahawks leading 10-7 early in the fourth quarter, Tarvaris Jackson capped a 12-play, 88-yard drive with a 15-yard touchdown pass to Tate. With his arms outstretched, Tate fell backwards onto the end zone turf — a costly celebration.

Tate was penalized 15 yards for unsportsmanlike conduct, an infraction that pushed Seattle’s kickoff unit back 15 yards. The Redskins returned the kick to their 30. Six plays later, Roy Helu’s 28-yard touchdown run cut Seattle’s lead to three points.

NFL rules prohibit players from going to the ground to celebrate touchdowns, something Tate said he was unaware of.

“Didn’t fully understand the rule, so I want to apologize. It was unacceptable,” Tate said, later apologizing on Twitter as well.

“It’s a young guy’s mistake,” coach Pete Carroll said. “He hasn’t scored enough touchdowns yet to figure that out. He’ll figure it out.”

Tate’s touchdown — his second of the season and his career — and subsequent penalty typify the inconsistency he showed last season. As a rookie, Tate flashed the big-play ability that made him a second-round pick and also struggled — admittedly — with route-running and focus.

The growth Tate has shown since has been less noticeable due to the addition of Sidney Rice and the emergence of undrafted rookie Doug Baldwin, who leads the team in receiving. Tate has made the most of limited chances this season. When Sidney Rice and Doug Baldwin left a Week 10 game against the Ravens, Tate stepped in and caught two passes on the final drive of what would be a Seahawks win.

His touchdown catch on Sunday came after Rice left the game with a head injury.

“I’d definitely say I’ve grown a lot. For me, the biggest thing is just being consistent — being consistently in the right spot, doing the right thing, being trusted by the quarterback, the organization, the staff and other players,” he said. “I know I can make plays and so does the team, but I’ve just got to be a little more consistent.

“That was kind of my goal at the beginning of the year, and as my play time has increased I think they’re starting to count on me a little more.”