KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The addition of Sammy Watkins to the Chiefs offense seemed just the tonic for a group that struggled in the red zone last season, and in Sunday's 30-20 win against the Denver Broncos, Watkins got to show off those skills, combining with quarterback Patrick Mahomes for two key red zone score.
“Everything is a little bit quicker (in the red zone),” Watkins said after the game.” Once you're playing fast and Pat throwing the ball the way he's been throwing, you have no choice but to catch the ball and score.”
Watkins led the Chiefs with eight catches for 107 yards against the Broncos. But the two red zone touchdowns from 13 yards and 10 yards out proved essential to the victory.
“It feels great, not just to score two times but to get the win,” Watkins said. “To do it at a high level and just go out there and play my style of game, running around having fun, throw some good blocks and have everyone catch a lot of balls.”
Tight end Travis Kelce, who caught six passes for 79 yards and touchdown against the Broncos, said he enjoyed seeing Watkins have a breakout day Sunday.
“It's always good to see Sammy go off,” Kelce said. “He brings such a confidence in everything he does, you are happy for the guy because of the type of person he is and how hard he works during the week.”
Some had concerns about how Watkins might fit in an offense loaded with weapons such as Kelce, Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt. Head coach Andy Reid said Watkins' approach has been unbelievable.
“He just comes out, does the same, work hard, he's not concerned about how many catches he has or any of that,” Reid said. “For a big-time receiver, that's unique. He knows, I mentioned it top the (team), that there's only one ball, and we have a bunch of guys who are pretty good players. When you have an opportunity, be a part of that. He's done a nice job of that.”
Watkins admits he struggled with that concept as a rookie in Buffalo. His time with the Los Angeles Rams helped him better appreciate the value of teamwork.
“I was young and I was kind of ego tripping,” Watkins said. “Now I'm kind of older and understand that it's a team goal and every week is going to change.”
Watkins said being surrounded by so many other options in the Chiefs offense takes pressure of him and allows him to play with greater freedom.
“It's not all about me or any guy on this team,” Watkins said. “If I'm not open, I know Travis is going to be open. I can literally run my route, but watch him catch the ball, and it feels great to see everybody out there making plays.”
Watkins, however, continues making plenty of plays on his own. He ranks third on the team in both receptions (34) and receiving yardage (453), putting him on pace for his best season since catching 60 balls for 1,047 yards in Buffalo during the 2015 season.
“I'm healthy and just really going out there and having fun playing,” Watkins said. “I think that's the biggest part, playing fast and enjoying it.”
Mahomes told Watkins before the game that he owed the Broncos after exiting the first matchup between the two teams with an injury and registering no catches in just 12 snaps.
“I was happy for him to get out there and make a lot of really big plays that really changed the tide of the game,” Mahomes said.