When he looks back at it now, Quez Watkins is more concerned with the six yards he didn’t get than the 91 yards he did get.
Watkins has had a week to reflect on his exciting but ultimately frustrating 91-yard catch from Jalen Hurts in the Eagles’ 17-11 loss to the 49ers Sunday.
“I definitely feel like I should have scored on that one,” he said. “But things happen, and I didn’t.”
Watkins beat 49ers corner Deommodore Lenoir down the right sideline and caught the bomb from Hurts at the Eagles’ 42-yard-line. Lenoir had no shot at catching the speedy Watkins, but veteran safety Jaquiski Tartt raced across the field, got a hand on Watkins at the 49ers’ 22-yard-line and finally got Watkins down at the 6.
It was the Eagles’ fifth-longest play ever and second-longest that didn’t result in a touchdown. It was only the second NFL non-scoring pass play of at least 90 yards in the last 24 years.
And it may have cost the Eagles a win.
“Really trying to track the ball in the sun and as soon as I caught it I was trying to leave him,” Watkins said. “But he had a good angle on me, so he got me.”
If Watkins could have gotten those last six yards, the Eagles would have taken a 10-0 lead midway through the second quarter.
Instead, they failed to score — the first time in nine years an NFL team has gotten a 90-yard play and not scored on that drive — and the 49ers responded by driving 97 yards for a touchdown just before halftime.
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“Before the play, we were in the huddle for a minute, it was a TV timeout,” Watkins said. “Jalen was talking and going over the play and he just kept talking to me, just making sure I was on point before the play, and he said, ‘Hey, this is 98 yards, get in the end zone.’
“And when I didn’t, he was so mad at me. But at the end of the day, it’s something we have to grow on, something we have to learn from and be better.”
Watkins had the Eagles’ two longest receptions of the game, the 91-yarder and a 26-yarder in the first quarter. The 117 yards gave him his first career 100-yard game and made him the first player the Eagles have drafted in the sixth round or later with a 100-yard game as an Eagle since 11th-round running back Herman Hunter had 120 yards in 1985 against the Cards (Brandon Gibson had one for the Rams in 2012).
Watkins had more yards Sunday against the 49ers than he had all last year, but he spoke this week about the consistency he’s striving for.
Not a huge game one week and nothing the next week. He wants the Eagles to be able to count on him every week.
“It’s very important,” he said. “Being relevant, staying relevant, that’s the biggest thing in this league as a professional. Everybody’s good, everybody can perform week in and week out, but who is going to consistently do that?”
The Eagles haven’t had a wide receiver record consecutive 100-yard games since Jordan Matthews in 2015.
If Watkins can end that drought it would go a long way toward giving the Eagles a chance to topple the Cowboys Monday night at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
Watkins didn’t play regularly last year until Week 14, so he’s never been a part of a Monday night game or even a significant prime-time game.
“It’s prime time,” Watkins said. “That says it itself. It’s a prime-time game, it’s a rivalry game, division game. So it’s time to put on a show.”
And maybe even get in the end zone.