Golden Tate got benched in Week 4 — despite coach Jim Caldwell not wanting to characterize it as such.

How a player responds to getting yanked tells a lot about his character. Tate said he did some soul-searching after the terrible loss to the Chicago Bears that dropped the Lions to 1-3.


“You’ve got two options: Make a play, or not make a play,” Tate said, via MLive.com. “Which GT do you want to be?”

In Week 4, Tate caught one pass for one measly yard — his lowest outing since 2012. In the first four games of the season, he had just 14 receptions for 95 yards, with zero touchdowns. The benching came after a missed signal caused a Matthew Stafford interception, taking possible points off the board.

In Week 5, Tate’s stats weren’t much better: Three receptions, 39 yards. But that included a huge 27-yard catch-and-run that set up the winning field goal.

Since that spark, Tate has been on fire.

The 5-foot-10 wideout caught eight passes for a career-high 165 yards and a touchdown against Los Angeles. He followed that up with a 93-yard, six-catch performance against Washington. The Lions have won three straight to pull to 4-3.

“(The Chicago game) kind of lit a fire under my tail a little bit,” he said. “I had to dig deep a little bit. I had to soul search and think about some things. But it just came down to one thing for me — be confident in who I am as a player, work my tail off and control what I can control. And that’s when the ball is thrown my way, make something happen.”

Tate’s emergence the past two weeks has helped Matthew Stafford vault up the QB power rankings. With an injured, talent-poor defense, Detroit needs Tate and the offense to continue clicking on all cylinders if it wants to keep pace with other playoff teams in the NFC.

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