DETROIT -- Golden Tate got out of the doghouse and finally made a big play for the Detroit Lions.
The seventh-year wide receiver was benched for a good portion of the team's 17-14 loss at Chicago last week and made just one catch. He seemed like a forgotten man in the offense.
With the Lions down 23-21 to Philadelphia late in the game on Sunday, Tate fought off the coverage of safeties Rodney McLeod and Malcolm Jenkins and caught a 27-yard pass on third down.
An unnecessary roughness penalty against Jenkins gave Detroit a first down at the Eagles' 6-yard line. Though Detroit couldn't get into the end zone the next three plays, Matt Prater's 29-yard field goal with 1:28 remaining was sufficient to give the Lions a much-needed 24-23 victory.
"Golden did a great job," quarterback Matthew Stafford said. "He was a little deeper than I expected him to be but I was kind of waiting and waiting for him to show up in a little bit of a crossing route. He got through some traffic and I threw it where I thought would be a good spot. I didn't see the rest (as he was getting tackled), but I'll see it on Monday."
Tate's overall stats were still modest -- three catches for 39 yards. Offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter also called for Tate to get three carries in effort to get him more touches, though he only picked up six yards.
Cooter predicted Tate would have a "huge" game earlier in the week. That didn't happen, but he did emerge from the shadows when the Lions needed him.
"I'm not certain it's probably to the magnitude that you all think that it was or is," Lions coach Jim Caldwell said. "It wasn't a defining moment. Golden's been a player around here who's played well for us a long time and I think he'll continue to do so.
"What did he have, three or four catches? It just so happened that those catches were meaningful catches, as opposed to nine or 10 balls."
Tate came into the season as the Lions' No. 1 receiver in the aftermath of Calvin Johnson's retirement. He had thrived in the role as the No. 2 option, even when Johnson missed games or was limited by injuries. He caught 99 passes for 1,331 yards in his first season with the Lions in 2014, then had 90 catches for 813 yards and six touchdowns last season.
Instead, he has taken a back seat while free agent acquisition Marvin Jones Jr. has become the preferred target. He's also lost targets to veteran Anquan Boldin and tight end Eric Ebron, though Ebron missed the game Sunday with ankle and knee ailments.
Tate had seven receptions in Detroit's season-opening win at Indianapolis but caught just seven more passes and totaled 95 receiving yards entering Sunday's game.