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Buccaneers wide receiver and former Penn star Justin Watson caught his first career touchdown in Sunday's win over the Colts. Mike Carlson/Tampa Bay Buccaneers

After setting records for the Quakers, Justin Watson has begun to break through in the NFL.

Watson, a former Penn football star and 2018 Wharton graduate, scored his first NFL touchdown on a 17-yard reception from quarterback Jameis Winston, as his Tampa Bay Buccaneers defeated the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 38-35 on Sunday.

Watson finished the afternoon with five receptions for 59 yards along with the aforementioned score in what was easily the best outing of his professional career. Before this afternoon, he had never recorded more than one reception in any NFL game.

One of the best football players in Penn history, Watson set program records for the most receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns in the school’s storied history. He also had the most receiving yards in conference play of any player in Ivy League history. He was a key member of Penn’s 2016 Ivy League championship football team, when he set the school record for most receptions in a season, with 89.

Credit: Alana Kelly

Watson, who is currently listed as the fifth wide receiver on Tampa Bay’s depth chart, saw significant action on offense for the first time in his career because star receiver Mike Evans left the game in the first quarter with a hamstring injury.

Notably, Watson is the first Penn football alumnus to score a touchdown in the NFL since fullback and 1999 Penn graduate Jim Finn found the end zone for the Colts in the 2000 NFL season.

Watson also handled punt return duties without error for the Bucs as they came back from a 10-point deficit.

Drafted in the fifth round of the 2018 NFL Draft, Watson is one of three former Penn players currently in the NFL. He had appeared in 24 NFL games before his first touchdown but was mostly used on special teams.  

Even with his team out of playoff contention, Watson will look to continue to produce on offense over the final three games of the season.

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