Receiver Justin Watson said he called his mom, Terri, shortly after the Chiefs’ victory Sunday over the Raiders.
Her memory was spot-on. Watson said she recalled the only other time he had picked up a personal foul penalty like he did after catching a three-yard touchdown against Las Vegas.
And that was during his first year playing football in fourth grade — roughly 17 years ago.
“So out of character a little bit for myself,” Watson said with a smile Thursday.
The first one has a good story.
Watson said he was playing running back then, with his game taking place on a baseball field. His team was losing — and he was getting tackled on the hard infield dirt — so after getting stopped on fourth down, he felt someone roughing up the pile behind him.
Without thinking, Watson said he turned and threw an elbow. There was one problem.
“It was my own teammate,” he said with a laugh.
That didn’t matter to the officials. Watson picked up a 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for striking the guy on his own team, though he said he’d avoided all incidents like that since.
Until Sunday, that is.
Late in the second quarter, Watson was decked by Raiders linebacker Robert Spillane on a red-zone route before popping up to catch a three-yard touchdown pass from Patrick Mahomes.
Afterward, Watson walked over to Spillane and said a few words to draw the flag.
“Just heat of the moment,” Watson said. “We got down two scores, fighting to come back. And especially those first two drives we scored on, it was just, we were scratching and clawing. So I think just caught up in the moment a little bit.”
Watson’s teammates covered for the 15-yard infraction. Harrison Butker boomed it 78 yards on the ensuing kickoff, and Jack Cochrane shed a blocker to make the tackle at the Las Vegas 27.
The Raiders chose to run the clock out after that to take it to halftime.
Chiefs coach Andy Reid said earlier in the week he was “good, but not good” with what Watson did during that sequence Sunday. Reid could’ve done without the markoff, but he also said not many players would’ve recovered as quickly as Watson.
“He’s a tough kid,” Reid said, “and for him to bounce up like he did and then score, he didn’t flinch a lick on that.”
Watson said he still needed to be better to avoid Sunday’s once-every-two-decades-type occurrence.
“Coach Reid’s about being competitive, about being all the rest of those things. But at the end of the day, just can’t take a penalty. Penalties hurt,” Watson said. “And so thankfully, that one didn’t hurt us too bad. But that was the moral of that story.”