2022, as a whole, was a bad year for the Green Bay Packers – but there were certainly some bright spots.
One such spot was then-rookie wideout Christian Watson. It took him a little bit to get going, but he really took off once things started to click.
Watson’s first big game came in Week 10 against the Dallas Cowboys, where he recorded the first 100-yard game of his career and caught three touchdowns from Aaron Rodgers.
From Week 10 to the end of the season, Watson and Davante Adams led the NFL with seven receiving touchdowns and Watson also finished second in yards per reception (16.9) among WRs with at least 50 targets.
He also found himself in the top-20 of receiving yards (532) despite only receiving around 6-1/2 targets per game over the final eight games.
Per Pro Football Focus, Watson’s 2.58 yards per route run was second-best among wideouts with at least 48 targets from Weeks 10-18. That was a better mark than guys like Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, Tyreek Hill, A.J. Brown, CeeDee Lamb, and many others. His contested catch rate of up 75.0% led all wideouts, as well.
The numbers and the tape don’t lie – Watson had an incredible second half of the season. And now, it’s got him on track to do something no second-year WR has done in Green Bay since 1989.
Packers great Sterling Sharpe was the last -and most recent- second-year WR to record 1,000 receiving yards or more in Year 2. If Watson hits 1,000 yards, he and Sharpe will be the only two Packers players to record 1,000 receiving yards or more in their second year.
Sharpe exploded onto the scene after a pretty solid rookie year and led the NFL with 90 receptions in 1989. His 1,423 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns were second to only the greatest wideout to ever play the game in Jerry Rice.
Sharpe finished his Packers career with 595 receptions for 8,134 receiving yards and 65 touchdowns. Ironically enough, all three of those stats currently rank third among all Packers pass-catchers since the merger. He was voted into the team’s Hall of Fame in 2002.
It’ll be interesting to see how the Packers offense performs in 2023, but it appears they have a No. 1 option in Watson and everything is in line for him to have a big year.