Golden Tate doesn’t need anyone to tell you how good he is. He is made of football magic and gridiron grit, and it’s difficult to find a single negative in his game so far as a Detroit Lion. As good as he has been, netting 66 receptions and 909 yards through the first nine games of 2014, his first year in Detroit, there is some historical context that will make you understand just how important the former Fighting Irish star has been. The numbers look flashy, but in a bubble they don’t really mean that much. Tate has fit like a glove in this offense, and it shows.
66 Receptions is a career high for Golden Tate, whose previous high of 64 in 2013 was set with the super bowl winning Seattle Seahawks. Through 16 games. That’s seven more games than Tate has played now. 2013 also saw his career high in receiving yards, 898. He presently stands at 909 yards, a new season high, with (As I can’t mention enough) seven games left to play. Amazing, I know, but hardly historical.
In Detroit Lions history, there have only been two receivers to have more yards than Golden Tate has through the first nine games of a Lions season. One of those receivers, of course, is Calvin “Megatron” Johnson, who now plays across from Tate. Johnson accounts for two of the three seasons with more yardage than Tate. The other? Hall of fame receiver Herman Moore.
What about those 66 receptions, how do those stack up against the Detroit Lions greats? With a Hall of Famer like Herman Moore, and another that’s headed that way in Calvin Johnson, you’d expect a season or two where they managed more in the first 9 games of a season, right? You’d be wrong. Golden Tate’s 66 receptions are the most by ANY Detroit Lions receiver through the team’s first 9 games, tied with Herman Moore from 1997 and more than Calvin Johnson in any of his seasons.
Golden Tate is a free agent acquisition, however. He wasn’t drafted by the team. So to provide even more context in how amazing his season has been, I dug a little deeper. How do those 66 receptions and 909 yards stack up against the first nine games in a Detroit Lions player’s first nine games as a Lion? If you haven’t guessed already, those are both the most receptions AND the most yards of any Detroit Lions player, in their entire history, in their first nine games as a Lion. How’s that for a “Third wide receiver with modest numbers?”