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Game notes: Film study paid off for Keisean Nixon on critical INT

Christian Watson exits after two-TD day; Ben Sims relishes first NFL score

Packers LB Eric Wilson & CB Keisean Nixon
Packers LB Eric Wilson & CB Keisean Nixon

GREEN BAY – As soon as Keisean Nixon saw the check, his mind went back to all the film study the Packers did this week in preparation for Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City offense.

On first-and-10 and Kansas City driving with five minutes left in the fourth quarter, Chiefs receivers Rashee Rice and Skyy Moore tried to run a rub route but Nixon tracked Moore perfectly from the slot to the sideline.

What resulted was an over-the-shoulder interception by Nixon, the second of his NFL career, that factored heavily into the Packers closing out Kansas City with a 27-19 victory in front of 78,124 at Lambeau Field on Sunday.

 "We were watching mannerism tape earlier in the week, and (Mahomes) tapped his knee, and they put two (receivers) off the ball," Nixon said. "I'm like, 'Oh, I've seen this before.' I knew he was going to run it, and he ran it."

The Packers were only leading 24-19 at the time of Nixon's interception, with the Chiefs having just crossed over into Green Bay territory after a 17-yard defensive pass interference penalty.

Nixon stayed calm, as he has all season amidst a litany of injuries in the secondary that have left him as Green Bay's only starting defensive back to play in all 12 games this season.

His interception was the only turnover by either team on Sunday. What's more, the Packers converted it into points with an 11-play, 35-yard drive that ate 4 minutes, 5 seconds off the clock and culminated in a 48-yard Anders Carlson field goal.

"It was huge. I'm happy for Kei," defensive lineman Kenny Clark said. "He's another guy who's been putting in a lot of work. He's been playing that nickel position and he did a great job of making the play on the ball. Pat threw it up there and he made an over-the-shoulder catch. That was huge for us. We needed that turnover."

Kansas City proved hard to stop for the first three quarters. The Chiefs scored on their first four offensive possessions, including Mahomes' 2-yard TD pass to tight end Noah Gray at the start of the fourth quarter that pulled KC within 21-19.

After the Packers were forced to punt from their own 41, the defense responded with a three-and-out. After Nixon's interception helped push the lead back to eight, the defense held its ground on Kansas City's late attempt to force overtime.

It was a play Nixon felt compelled to make after failing to get his feet down on a couple other near-INTs along the sideline this season.

"I had to. It's been a minute," said Nixon, who received a game ball for his efforts. "I've been trying to get one this whole year, and it should've been my third one, but we'll take the first one … Mahomes."

Watson scores twice, exits: Christian Watson found the end zone twice, catching a 9-yard pass from Jordan Love in the second quarter and skying for a 12-yard TD in the third.

While the second-year receiver led Green Bay with a career-high seven receptions for 71 yards, Watson was forced to exit in the fourth quarter with a hamstring injury following a 10-yard pass that set up Carlson's final field goal.

Watson missed three games earlier this season with a hamstring strain.

"We'll get with the training staff tomorrow and probably get it looked at," Watson said. "Just pulled up a little bit at the end there with my hamstring. Obviously try to take care of that as quickly as I can."

Rookie impact: Rookie tight end Ben Sims made some history on Sunday night.

With his 1-yard TD catch in the first quarter, Sims joined 2023 draft picks Luke Musgrave and Tucker Kraft as the first rookie TE trio in team history to each register a TD reception in a season.

Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the Packers are the first team in the Super Bowl era to have three rookie tight ends catch a TD pass in a season.

"I think it speaks to who we are as a room and a group," Sims said. "It shows the commitment that we have to each other. We're learning and we're growing and we're coming together as a unit. I just couldn't be prouder of the tight end room."

Check out photos from the Week 13 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Kansas City Chiefs at Lambeau Field on Sunday, Dec. 3, 2023.