KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jaylen Watson’s 99-yard interception return for a touchdown reversed the fortunes of the Chiefs in the team’s 27-24 win over the Los Angeles Chargers and for his heroics, Watson landed the AFC’s Defensive Player of the Week honor on Wednesday.
The pick-six was the longest go-ahead fourth-quarter touchdown scored by a rookie in NFL history.
The last Chiefs rookie to win the weekly conference award was cornerback Marcus Peters, who captured the honor in Week 15 of the 2015 season. Watson also gives the Chiefs a weekly award for the second time this season after Patrick Mahomes on the offensive award in Week 1.
In addition to his game-changing interception, Watson also contributed four tackles against the Chargers.
Watson stepped into the lineup after fellow rookie cornerback Trent McDuffie landed on injured reserve due to a strained hamstring. He learned he would likely start on Monday, and three days later found himself in an opportunity to change the outcome of the game with the Chargers driving for a go-ahead touchdown with the score tied 17-17.
“It was a surreal feeling,” Watson said after the game. “Just so grateful and blessed to be in this position. I didn’t even know what to do when I got in the end zone, that’s everyone (saw) me just standing there. But it’s a moment I’ll never forget.”
Head coach Andy Reid said he’s seen steady progress in Watson since the team selected him in the seventh round of this year’s NFL Draft.
“I think it probably was most of all the progress that he made at camp,” Reid said. “Good size, can run – you saw that after the interception and that was beautiful.”
Watson is the fourth former Washington State defensive back to earn Defensive Player of the Week honors, joining former Chiefs cornerback James Hasty (Week 7, 1999), Marcus Trufant (Week 14, 2007) and Brian Walker (Week 11, 2000).