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Packers Best Plays of 2022, #1: Jordan Love to Christian Watson gives us a preview of the future

The Packers’ best play of 2022 gives a look at what’s possible in 2023.

NFL: Green Bay Packers at Philadelphia Eagles Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We conclude our top plays countdown with a look back that’s actually a look ahead.

Does that sound confusing? It’s really not.

If you’d told anyone in September that the top play of the year for the Green Packers would be a touchdown pass not thrown by Aaron Rodgers, you’d probably have been laughed at.

Well, who’s laughing now?

#1: Christian Watson 63-yard touchdown from Jordan Love

The Packers’ top play of 2022 came courtesy of Jordan Love and Christian Watson and to top it off, Green Bay lost the game the play occurred in. It’s upside down logic in a season that was full of upside down moments for the Packers, but it also gave us a glimpse at what the future could look like and it’s big reason why so many people are so amped for this new era in Green Bay.

The play is basically a sneak preview of what the 2023 Packers could look like. Nothing fancy in the pass and catch, just Love putting the ball where it needed to be on a simple schemed play and Watson’s speed doing the rest of the work.

In an eerie coincidence to the game Rodgers entered against the Dallas Cowboys in Dallas the year before he took over as starter, Love took over for an injured Rodgers on Monday Night Football against the Philadelphia Eagles on the road. Trailing 37-23 entering the fourth quarter, Love was going to have to work a miracle to pull off a comeback against the eventual NFC champions.

He fell short, but the 63-yard touchdown to Watson gave Packers fans such a tantalizing taste of the future that it almost, ALMOST, washed away the bitter taste of a loss that pushed the Packers to the brink of playoff elimination.

The play itself is simple: Watson runs a slant route, Love hits him where he needs to, and Watson’s remarkable speed takes care of the rest.

It’s also a textbook example of what Matt LaFleur’s offense will look like with Love in command. The quarterback is under center with a single back in the backfield. Love does a quick play-action fake to Aaron Jones in the backfield, plants his feet, makes a read and hits Watson perfectly as the rookie receiver breaks inside, then Watson turns the corner and hits the afterburners.

A beautifully executed simple play and let the pass catcher’s athleticism leave the defense in the dust.

For the 2023 Packers, to quote The Mandalorian, “this is the way.”

In terms of what Love needs to do, it’s just a matter of working within the offense and not worrying about having to do too much. LaFleur wanted his young signal caller to “let it rip” earlier in the year and not overthink his throws. This play is a perfect example of that and one we’d hope is replayed for him repeatedly to reinforce good habits.

For Watson, it was a nice confidence builder and a nice tease to what he can be this season with one year under his belt. As Mike Tirico said in the broadcast of the game against the Eagles, “he’s got great speed!” and Watson definitely displayed that on the touchdown pass. He also showed he can snag the ball over the middle of the field and turn the corner for a big play.

In an otherwise forgettable season, it was a memorable moment for two young players. It might have been the first, and it’s a very smart bet that it won’t be the last.

This concludes our top play countdown for 2022. Now we turn the corner to 2023.

Welcome to a new era in Green Bay. Love and Watson are just getting started.