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As it turns out, Sammy Watkins’ big Super Bowl play was no fluke

Richard Sherman’s recent remarks about the 38-yard pass he gave up to Watkins in Super Bowl LIV gave us an excuse to revisit the play — and we learned something new.

Super Bowl LIV - San Francisco 49ers v Kansas City Chiefs Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

There’s no doubt about it: San Francisco 49ers cornerback Richard Sherman had a great season in 2019. But a big mistake on a big stage — in this case, the 38-yard reception he gave up to Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Sammy Watkins in Super Bowl LIV — can definitely take the shine off such a performance.

After the Chiefs’ 31-20 victory, Sherman didn’t want to talk about it very much, saying only that Watkins “made a play” to put the Chiefs in position to take the lead with just under four minutes remaining.

But plays like that have a way of sticking around. On Wednesday — more than four months later — Sherman was asked about it again.

“It’s football,” said Sherman via the San Francisco Chronicle. “Nobody’s played a perfect game yet. It honestly didn’t bother me much, period. I went out there and prepared the best I could. The guy made a good play. It is what it is. I gave up a 38-yard catch in a football game. I gave up 60 yards (receiving) in the game.”

As befitting a veteran player who is starting his tenth NFL season, Sherman added that he wasn’t going to let it get under his skin.

“I’m not going to sit there and beat myself up about it like I didn’t prepare hard,” Sherman said. “That I didn’t go out there and put my best foot forward. You win some. You lose some. You live to fight another day.”

But because it’s come up again, it might be good to take another look at the play — which Watkins talked about during a postgame interview with Deion Sanders.

“I just knew it was 1-on-1 from watching film,” Watkins told Sanders. “I just thank Davante Adams, because I saw him kill [Sherman] on the inside release.’’

In that moment, the interview may have escaped your notice — there was a certain amount of... uhhh... celebrating going on among Chiefs fans — but what Watkins said was exactly right. Two weeks before, the Green Bay Packers wide receiver had beaten Sherman just as badly with a similar move. In fact, viewed one after another, the plays look very much alike.

Sherman’s remarks are making headlines across the NFL on Thursday. But the focus really ought to be on Watkins, whose film study allowed him to arrive in Miami with specific way to beat the six-time Pro Bowl corner — and then chose exactly the right moment to use it.

As it turns out, Sherman had it right the first time: Watkins just made a play.

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