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Originally published Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 9:11 PM

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Rookie Golden Tate shines in first appearance

He produced a 63-yard punt return and a 52-yard catch after being inactive in Week 1.

Seattle Times staff reporter

DENVER — The spin move was an appropriate touch on Golden Tate's 63-yard punt return in the third quarter. His second-half performance in Seattle's 31-14 loss to Denver Sunday constituted quite a turnaround for the rookie after being inactive for Week 1.

So what did he see when he spun away from two defenders and had open field in front of him?

"I don't remember," Tate said.

He doesn't remember the spectacular results from the first time he touched the ball in an NFL regular-season game?

"I never remember what happened," he said. "I just remember I got up, I ran for a long time, and I was tired."

Fatigue was understandable, but he didn't have long to catch his breath. Tate caught a pass down the sideline later in the period, cut back inside and wound up with a 52-yard reception.

Those are the kind of plays that make you wonder why Seattle played six full quarters before the second-round pick from Notre Dame got his hands on the ball. The issue was the precision of his routes.

"Going through (training) camp, he was still a little bit behind, doing things right and trying to clean his game up," coach Pete Carroll said. "He's working real hard at it, and he's going to get it done. It's not far away, but he did show. He did show the stuff that we've seen all throughout camp.

"He can make plays. He can make things happen."

Tate did just that. His 52-yard catch was Seattle's longest play from scrimmage this season. The Seahawks had only one longer reception all of last year — a 53-yard pass to T.J. Houshmandzadeh.

Tate's first opportunity came as a punt returner after fellow rookie Walter Thurmond muffed a punt in the first quarter inside the Seattle 20.

"I just dropped it," Thurmond said.

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Carroll made a switch, inserting Tate instead of forcing Thurmond to try and block out the memory of that first failed return.

"It's hard enough doing it early on as a first-time guy, anyway," Carroll said.

Tate got the next opportunity and he made the most of it, his 63-yard return setting up Seattle's first touchdown. And after Sunday's performance, don't expect to wait another six quarters before he touches the ball again.

"We'll figure out how to make him a part of the offense and really in the kicking game as well as much as we can," Carroll said.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

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