When the Rams acquired wide receiver Sammy Watkins from the Bills in early August, the Clemson product was presumed to be the No. 1 receiver coaches and players alike had been longing for. The star wideout was known for his fantastic playmaking ability, his decisive route-running, and his sure hands as a vertical threat.
But through his first seven games as a Ram, Watkins' numbers didn't quite match those expectations, having made just 18 receptions on 21 targets for 264 yards and two touchdowns.
Quarterback Jared Goff had tried and failed to connect with Watkins on the deep ball and according to ESPN.com, the two had connected on just one of seven passes that traveled at least 20 yards past the line of scrimmage.
But through the struggles, Watkins never seemed worried.
"It will come," he said.
"We've done it before and plan to do it again," Goff echoed.
And in Sunday's contest against the Giants, the duo finally connected — a 67-yard touchdown in the second quarter of the Rams 51-17 rout.
On 2nd-and-6 from the L.A. 33, Goff faked a handoff to running back Todd Gurley on the left. Then he booted back to the right before firing a deep ball over the middle of the field.
"Right when I threw it I was like, 'Aw that might be too much,'" Goff said. "I thought I might have gotten too much of it."
Fortunately for Goff, Watkins was left wide open after putting a double move on cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and darting past safety Landon Collins. But even as Watkins raced downfield, he like Goff, was unsure of his ability to make the play.
"Honestly I didn't know if I was going to get there, I was just running for my life" Watkins said with a laugh. "I stuck my arms out and it just landed in my hands — a great catch and a great throw."
Meanwhile McVay stood watching, tracking the football on the sidelines. When the ball finally landed in Watkins fingertips — after travelling 61.8 yards by air — Watkins strolled into the endzone for his third touchdown of the season. On Monday, McVay said he "was probably as excited as anybody" for the duo connecting on such a big play.
"Those two players individually, a great throw, a great catch and route, especially in the circumstances where it had just started to rain again and it was really wet," McVay said. "That was phenomenal by those guys and we were really pleased. It definitely gave us a spark."
"We knew it would eventually happen," Watkins said. "What I have been focusing on this whole year is just playing hard, finishing blocks. If I can control what I can control, I'll start getting the ball and everything will start working out like it should."