CHICAGO – The legend of Christian Watson continues to grow in Green Bay.
The Packers' rookie receiver was back at it again during Sunday's 28-19 win over the Chicago Bears. This time Watson not only caught a 14-yard touchdown on fourth-and-4 at the end of the first half, but he also stamped Green Bay's 13-point comeback with a 46-yard TD run off an end-around to put the game out of reach in the waning moments.
It came moments after Jaire Alexander's interception of Justin Fields slammed the door on a potential Bears' scoring drive. With the Packers clinging to a one-point lead at the two-minute warning, the Packers called a misdirection play that led to Watson getting the ball and seeing nothing but green Soldier Field grass in front of him.
The rest was inevitable.
"To be honest, if I see nothing in front of me, it's looking pretty good," Watson said. "Honestly that's exactly what I saw: I saw no one. I saw the corner go in with Sammy (Watkins) on his little crack block and I knew if the corner's not coming off there's no one that's going to make the play from the inside."
Prior to the fourth-quarter heroics, Watson came through at a critical time for the Packers near the end of the first half. After failing to connect with Watson on his first three passes, quarterback Aaron Rodgers went back to the rookie receiver on fourth-and-4 with 23 seconds left in the first half.
Watson wriggled free of the zone coverage and looked in a laser from Rodgers for the 14-yard TD that cut Chicago's lead to 16-10 to begin the Packers' comeback. It was during the final 15:25 of the game where Watson really became a problem for the Bears' secondary, though.
The 6-foot-4 receiver caught a 15-yard pass to convert on third-and-7 to end the third quarter before drawing a 38-yard defensive pass interference penalty from Jaylon Jones that led to an AJ Dillon 21-yard touchdown run. The exclamation point on top of it all was the 46-yard touchdown to end the comeback, an all-around impact that rivals Watson's three-TD performance in a comeback win over Dallas.
"That man got some burners. He can do it all," running back Aaron Jones said. "It just helps us. It gives us so many options. It keeps us versatile. I love having a weapon like that. Anytime he touches the ball, he has a chance to take it to the house."
Watson has been on a tear since Dallas. This past week, the rookie second-round pick was named the NFC Offensive Player of the Month after catching 14 passes for 289 yards and six touchdowns in four November contests. As the weeks pass, the rarer the air Watson is breathing.
For example, the rookie receiver is just the third Packers player to register seven-plus receiving TDs with multiple TD runs in the same season. The other two? Pro Football Hall of Famers Johnny Blood (1931) and Don Hutson (1941).
According to Elias Sports Bureau, Watson is also the first NFL rookie with eight scrimmage TDs over a four-game span since former Denver running back Clinton Portis (2002). As far as rookie receivers are concerned, there are only two who have accomplished the feat: Watson and Pro Football Hall of Famer Randy Moss (1998).
Afterwards, several of Watson's teammates were making their case that Watson should be in the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year conversation despite him missing the early part of the season with injuries.
"Hopefully, he can finish this year on the same hot streak he's going on," receiver Allen Lazard said. "I think he's definitely a great contender for (rookie of the year). Not only the plays that he's had but the timing of them. The Dallas game, especially, big plays when we're down, we need that go-ahead score or just momentum boosts, Christian has been there for us."
Lend a hand: Dean Lowry has 16 career pass deflections on his NFL resume…and now a blocked field goal to go with them.
The Packers' veteran defensive lineman made one of the most pivotal plays of the afternoon for Green Bay when he got his hand on Cairo Santos' 40-yard field-goal attempt in the fourth quarter. The block was significant, as Chicago was looking to add to a 19-17 lead at the time. On the ensuing possession, the Packers took a 20-19 advantage when Mason Crosby drilled a 32-yard field goal.
"That's been a big thing for us is getting good interior push in the pass rush and the field-goal block, and finally that's our first field goal block of the year," Lowry said. "It's a big moment and I think a big part of the game."
It was Lowry's first blocked field goal since his time at Northwestern, a special achievement for the Chicagoland native.
"My first NFL blocked field goal so I'll take it being a hometown, Chicago-ago kid," Lowry said. "It feels pretty good."
See scenes from the Sunday matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on Dec. 4, 2022.
Feeding Dillon: The Packers ran mostly behind Dillon with Jones dealing with a shin injury, and Dillon came through in a big way.
The second-year running back rushed for a season-high 93 yards on 18 carries, while catching three passes for 26 yards. Meanwhile, his 21-yard TD was a turning point for the Packers' offensive comeback.
"Sammy had a really, really great block outside," Dillon said. "The O-line did a great job blocking. It was me 1-on-1 against a safety and you gotta get those as many times as you can, so it was awesome."
Jones, who had 50 total yards on 14 touches, was available at the end of the game but exited early on after aggravating a nagging shin injury. Jones said he "could have definitely played" but the Packers wanted to be careful considering the upcoming bye week. Watching on, however, Jones was happy for his running mate.
"When a dog is being a dog let the dog be the dog," said Jones with a smile. "I told him that. I told him I'm proud of him, as well. He stepped up. I believe he's getting better and better. I'm proud of him."
Quite the memory: With the comeback win, the Packers moved past the Chicago Bears for the most wins in NFL history (787). According to ESPN.com, the Packers are the first team other than the Bears to own the outright lead since the Buffalo All-Americans (18).
"I feel like I've been blessed to be a part of a lot of memorable moments," safety Adrian Amos said. "The game puts Green Bay over the top as the winningest program, it's all blessings. Just thank God for being able to be a part of things like that. I can look back at that and tell my little boys, I was in that game."