Little known Chiefs rookie makes biggest play in huge win over Chargers – Yahoo Sports

Little known Chiefs rookie makes biggest play in huge win over Chargers - Yahoo Sports

Everyone found The Amazon Prime Video stream on Thursday night to watch Justin Herbert vs. Patrick Mahomes. Instead, Jaylen Watson ended up being the star of the show.

Jaylen who? Watson was a seventh-round pick of the Kansas City Chiefs in this year’s draft. He stepped into a big role for Thursday night’s game because first-round pick Trent McDuffie was out with an injury.

In a game full of big-name players, Watson made the play that decided it.

In the fourth quarter of a tied game, Watson picked off a Justin Herbert pass near the goal line and returned it 99 yards for a touchdown. That changed the entire game, as the Chiefs went on to a 27-24 victory in a game that will loom large all season in the AFC West race.

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Before the biggest play of the game – and what will hold up as one of the most important plays of the season – Chargers tight end Gerald Everett asked outside after catching a pass inside the 5-yard line. The Chargers wanted to keep playing fast without huddles, so they didn’t sub Everett out of the game. That allowed Watson to jump in from Everett on Herbert’s pass and turn a massive division game.

The Chargers will regret that series of events all season long.

Not a high-scoring start

The game was expected to be high-scoring with two of the NFL’s most exciting quarterbacks, but both offenses struggled in the first half. The Chargers took a 10-0 lead, and the Chiefs responded with a nice sidearm pass from Patrick Mahomes to Jerick McKinnon. Both offenses were quite efficient, but there weren’t many big plays. Both defenses were focused on not letting the other team’s strong-armed quarterback beat them over the top, and they mostly kept everything in front of them.

The Chargers struck immediately in the third quarter. They picked up a fourth-and-1 on strong Austin Thank you to run Then Herbert floated one till Mike Williamswho did phenomenal one-handed touchdown catch. That put the Chargers ahead 17-7.

Muhammad immediately returned. Muhammad stepped in the pocket and with a handshake he hit Justin Watson — who was in the game because Mecole Hardman came out before the play to get a heel injury checked out — a deep run for a 41-yard touchdown. Even Mahomo’s old teammate Tyreek Hill was impressed.

It set up a tight end between division rivals in what should be a tight AFC West race all season.

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson returns an interception for a touchdown in a win over the Chargers on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo.  (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Jaylen Watson returns an interception for a touchdown in a win over the Chargers on Thursday in Kansas City, Mo. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Momentum changes in the fourth quarter

The fourth quarter began with the Chiefs deciding whether to go for it on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. The Chiefs settled for a 19-yard field goal. It was a safe play, but it tied the game 17-17.

It turned out well. The Chargers drove right down and got to the 5-yard line on a catch by Everett. Everett was exhausted and wanted out of the game, but the Chargers were in rush mode and he didn’t come out. Everett faded a bit on his short route, allowed Watson to jump inside him and grab an interception that he returned 99 yards for a score. It was the kind of non-obvious mistake, ignoring Everett trying to get out of the game, that can decide a very important game.

The Chargers went three-and-out after that, and it was clear all the momentum the Chargers had built over three-plus quarters was gone.

Herbert had another chance, although he went down for a few scary moments after a stroke. He got up and returned after one play, but was hit again on his next attempt and grimaced as he got up, clutching his side. Herbert’s two passes after returning were incomplete and the Chargers punted with four minutes left. Clyde Edwards-Helaire snapped off a 52-yard run after that and the game was all but over. The Chiefs got a field goal to take a 10-point lead.

The Chargers scored with 1:11 left on a fourth-down pass from Herbert to Josh Palmer, but the Chiefs recovered an onside kick to end the win.

The Chiefs have been challenged by the Chargers, and could be pushed by them in the AFC West race all season. But Watson’s pick-six stole the show. Chiefs fans will remember his name after Thursday night.

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