It seems a lot of people are going to be cursing Christian Watson’s name Monday night, and one of them is Aaron Rodgers… in jest.
The Packers had one of their more complete wins of the season against the Rams Monday, winning 24-12 to knock the Rams out of playoff contention and keep their slim playoff hopes alive. But a snafu by the Packers near the goal line kept it from being at least 30-12 as a final score.
The Packers lined up with two receivers bunched, and Rodgers threw a ball at the ankles of Watson due to a miscommunication. After a first down, the Packers elected to just kneel out the clock from near the goal line.
As a result, the point total finished at 36, just shy of the 39.5 over/under coming in. Joe Buck acknowledged the gambling aspect on air, saying some were hoping for a score while others were glad the Packers took the knee.
After the game, a happy but miffed Rodgers had a simple message for Watson to Lisa Salters: “You wanna catch touchdowns, you run the right routes.”
MORE: Breaking down the Packers’ slim playoff chances
Rodgers also told reporters Watson had other opportunities, but his inconsistency hurt his statline. Watson had four catches for 46 yards.
“That’s going to happen, he’s a rookie,” he said, per Zach Jacobson. “He’s such a good kid. He really cares about it and he’s so talented.” The implication is clear: Watson can get better, and Rodgers wants him to. Watson had scored touchdowns in his last four games heading into Monday.
Ben Heisler detailed the other effects of that sliding doors play.
If Christian Watson catches that ball from Rodgers…
– He clears his OVER 47.5 yards (-110)
– He hits an Anytime TD Prop (+140)
– He hits a Last TD prop (+750)
– The OVER (39.5/40) hits (-110).pic.twitter.com/o2AG8vEXtt
— Ben Heisler (@bennyheis) December 20, 2022
The 23-year-old wideout failed to extend his four-game scoring streak where he registered a whopping seven touchdowns.
The internet took notice, too.
Over bettors watching the Packers kneel at the 1 yard linepic.twitter.com/BeTLe1ogRq
— DraftKings Sportsbook (@DKSportsbook) December 20, 2022
Over bettors watching the Packers knee it in the one yard line pic.twitter.com/31UOZw4diH
— Action 247 (@TNAction247) December 20, 2022
— IB THE GAMBLER 🔌 (@incarceratedbob) December 20, 2022
Under bettors watching the Packers kneel it out: pic.twitter.com/M8cRfj3hCD
— FanDuel Sportsbook (@FDSportsbook) December 20, 2022
the fantasy managers that were relying on a Christian Watson touchdown for a playoff win pic.twitter.com/yM8Odti0PJ
— BetRivers Sportsbook (@BetRivers) December 20, 2022
Watson and Rodgers have had their peaks and valleys in Watson’s first NFL season, with Watson’s NFL career starting with a brutal drop that could have derailed their chemistry all year. However, with injuries and a lack of production hampering the Packers’ receiving corps, Watson has emerged as a legitimate threat in the Packers offense.
That will get more important as the Packers continue to hang around the playoff picture. If they keep winning and the right teams in the NFC keep losing, they could be a very unfortunate matchup for a highly-seeded team in January. They do, however, still have a long way to go.