It's safe to say that rookie cornerback Jaylen Watson's career is off to a good start.
Watson – who recorded a 99-yard, go-ahead pick-six in the fourth quarter of last Thursday's victory over Los Angeles – was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday in recognition of his efforts.
The score, which broke a 17-17 tie and constituted a 14-point swing, was the longest go-ahead, fourth-quarter touchdown scored by a rookie in NFL history.
"The ball just ended up in my chest and I took it home. It was a surreal feeling," Watson said following the game. "[I'm] 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 [why] everyone [saw] me just standing there. It's a moment I'll never forget."
A seventh-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Watson is no stranger to adversity. He was a lightly-recruited prospect out of high school, and despite turning heads at the junior college level and earning a scholarship to USC, Watson was ruled academically ineligible to compete for the Trojans. That would represent a career-ender for most athletes, but not Watson. He instead returned home to his native Georgia and began working at a Wendy's restaurant with his mother while he worked on his grades. That hard work eventually paid off in a big way, as Watson went on to play two seasons at Washington State before hearing his name called over the course of Draft weekend.
It's the kind of story that illustrates why football is so much more than just a game, as Watson's dedication was rewarded with what turned out to be a game-changing play.
Watson and the Chiefs' defense will now look to keep things rolling on Sunday as Kansas City takes on the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium.