CINCINNATI — Bengals wide receiver Auden Tate was dominant in Sunday's 31-20 win over the Titans.
The third-year wide receiver skied over Johnathan Joseph and the rest of Tennessee's secondary, catching all seven of his targets for 65 yards.
Tate made key plays in crucial moments, including a leaping 15-yard grab on 3rd-and-6 to put the game away with two minutes left.
"He did what he's always done. He makes these circus grabs that I don't think very many people in the NFL can make," offensive coordinator Brian Callahan said. "His catch radius is off the charts and he's got great strong hands. He's definitely got a role that we have to expand and will expand as we move forward."
Tate entered Sunday's game with just four receptions for 56 yards in five contests. The coaching staff realized they needed to get him on the field more.
"He is everything that we preach and want," Callahan continued. "He gets in there and he does some dirty stuff for a receiver and he's physical. He puts his face on people in the run game. He is a big part of why the run game has been efficient because the way he blocks when he's in there and then he's deserving of targets. We are trying to find a way to get him some targets so he can be productive."
Tate earned a 91.8 overall grade for his Week 8 performance according to Pro Football Focus. It was the second-highest score out of 101 wide receivers. He was on PFF's team of the week.
This season hasn't been all sunshine for Tate. He was a healthy scratch in Week 2 against the Browns. His agent threw out the idea of a trade demand.
"If they don't know how to use him, I'm sure there are plenty of other teams that would love to have a weapon like that offensively," Tate's agent Deiric Jackson said at the time. "If you're not going to use him, why not let him go seek opportunities elsewhere?"
Tate never officially requested a trade and has been active in all but one game since Week 2. The 23-year-old kept a good attitude through it all, which paid off in Sunday's win.
"He's great to be around. There was never any point where we ever felt like he was disgruntled in any way," Callahan said "He's just like every other player, wants to play, and there's nothing wrong with that. And so I never saw any change in him. He really just kept going, doing the same things he's been doing."
The Bengals have one of the deepest wide receiver rooms in the NFL. A.J. Green, Tyler Boyd, Tee Higgins and now Tate have all had big games this season.
They know they can count on veterans Mike Thomas and Alex Erickson. They also have former first-round pick John Ross waiting for an opportunity. This is a flawed roster, but the receivers on this team believe they're capable of beating any secondary in the NFL.
"I love our receiver room," Callahan said. "Everybody that gets called upon makes plays, and everybody's had good games, so it's hard to say that anyone's not in line for production. So really all those guys that come in, when the ball gets to them, they make a play on it."
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