Key to the game: Christian Watson made play of the day but left wanting more

Packers receiver laments missed opportunities in loss to Raiders

Las Vegas Raiders CB Marcus Peters takes down Green Bay Packers WR Christian Watson after a 77-yard gain in the third quarter of the Packers' 17-13 loss to the Raiders. Peters was flagged for a horse collar tackle on the play.

LAS VEGAS – There were a lot of moments Christian Watson was pondering in the immediate aftermath of the Packers' 17-13 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders on Monday night.

Although the second-year receiver led Green Bay with three catches for 91 yards, including a career-long 77-yard reception, it was the four other targets Watson didn't come up with that were on the top of his mind in the postgame locker room.

That included the Packers' final offensive play, which came with Green Bay facing third-and-10 from the Raiders' 35-yard line and 51 seconds remaining.

Quarterback Jordan Love stepped up in the pocket and fired a pass to Watson deep in the Las Vegas end zone. Unfortunately for Green Bay's comeback hopes, Raiders cornerback Amik Robertson came down with the ball a few feet in front of Watson to send the Packers into their bye week at 2-3.

Watson was falling away from the pass as it happened but lamented not being able to break up the interception to give Green Bay another crack at a first down.

"I've got to find a way or make a way," Watson said. "I think my number was called way too many times tonight for the amount of plays I made. I've got to make some more plays."

The Packers' offense once again struggled to develop a rhythm early, especially during a second quarter in which Green Bay gained just 25 yards on four possessions with a Love interception sandwiched between punts.

As has been the case in recent weeks, the Packers came out swinging in the second half. Green Bay converted a Rudy Ford interception into an AJ Dillon 5-yard TD run following a seven-play drive that started at the Raiders' 37.

After Las Vegas went three-and-out on its next series, the offense got the explosive play it needed when Watson came uncovered on a 77-yard catch-and-run off play-action.

The play, which doubled as both Love's longest pass and Watson's longest reception, looked like it might end in a touchdown, but Raiders cornerback Marcus Peters tackled Watson by the horse collar.

Peters was flagged for a personal foul, but ultimately it cost the Raiders only three yards since Watson was brought down at the Las Vegas 6. The penalty saved Las Vegas four points after the Packers ultimately settled for a 22-yard Anders Carlson field goal that gave them a momentary 13-10 lead. 

"It's tough," Watson said. "At the end of the day, I don't even think I should be in that position, I should be able to outrun him at that point. I've just got to be faster."

Watson was targeted five times in the fourth quarter but added just one more catch for eight yards. In addition to the final play, Love also looked deep to Watson on the final play of a three-and-out series midway through the fourth quarter.

Check out photos from the Week 5 matchup between the Green Bay Packers and Las Vegas Raiders at Allegiant Stadium on Monday, Oct. 9, 2023.

Green Bay was in a tough spot Monday, as Pro Bowl running back Aaron Jones was out against the Raiders due to a recurring hamstring injury. Last week's 34-20 loss to Detroit remains the only game the Packers have had both Jones and Watson available, and both players were on a snap count.

Offensively, Green Bay knows it must start faster after putting up just six points in its last three first halves. After putting his own hamstring injury behind him, Watson hopes to be part of that solution when the team comes back after the bye.

"I think my number was called in some crucial situations, and I didn't make the plays," said Watson, whose 91 receiving yards comprised exactly half of the 182 yards Love threw for. "I've got to find a way to track it a little bit quicker so I can adjust to it a little bit quicker (on the deep ball). When '10' calls my number, I need to have him be able to rely on me a little bit more."


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