When watching Chargers receiver Mike Williams play, two thoughts come to mind. One is how he is able to go up and make such crazy plays. The second is ouch!
Williams has a knack for going up and making big-time catches even if he comes down hard. He did it last Monday against the New Orleans Saints.
The Bolts needed a big play to try and have a chance to win the game. Quarterback Justin Herbert threw a pass up for Williams, who made the 29-yard grab over two defenders.
"Well, first, the coaching staff, trust me to make those types of plays in my ability," said Williams. "I feel like I was doing that for a while since like high school. Just making the plays. That's the main thing, the ball in the air, no matter the situation, just go up, make the play. Try to help the team find a way to win. That's the main thing when the game is on the line, and the coaches call on you to make that play, don't let anyone down. Make that play."
It has been something he has done for a while. It all started on the playground.
"I was always kinda bigger than everybody growing up, so me and the homies would play in the backyard and just throw the ball up," said Williams.
"Just throw it up," should be his new slogan.
The first time his big-play ability was seen on an NFL field was on September 23, 2018. The Bolts were playing the L.A. Rams at the L.A. Coliseum. It was second down and 12, when then quarterback Philip Rivers saw Williams sprinting down the field and beat Marcus Peters to make the 42-yard touchdown grab. He came down pretty hard but made the grab.
Last season, he continued to grow.
In Mexico City against the Kansas City Chiefs, the Chargers were down by a touchdown, and it looked like the game was over. It was third and 15 on the Bolts 25-yard line when Rivers dropped back and hit Williams for a 50-yard catch over two defenders. He came down hard.
He doesn't care about the landing. He only has one thing on his mind.
"I try to secure the ball first that's the main thing," explained Williams. "I do need to work on my landing a little bit, though. I don't really think about it too much. I feel like making the play is most important. I mean, I can land correct and not catch the ball, but now we are asking why I didn't catch the ball. So, I am just trying to secure the catch first, and whatever happens, that is what it is."
A couple of weeks later, the Bolts faced the Denver Broncos. It was fourth and 11 on the Chargers' 24-yard line when Rivers snapped the ball, threw it up to number 81 and came down with the catch yet again. This time was unique. He slipped out of his break and caught it with one hand on his shoulder with the cornerback draped on him.
"It doesn't have to be pretty by any means. You just have to give him a chance," explained Herbert. "And I know that when he goes up, it's not going to be a 50/50 ball. It's more like an 80/20."
That is an important lesson that Herbert has learned quickly about his two primary receivers; they are almost always open. Williams is the player who will make the big time catches and do whatever it takes to help his team win.
For the four-year receiver from Clemson, the equation is easy to solve.
"Most of it is just making plays being football players," said Williams. "I mean, he's a quarterback, I'm a receiver. He does his job. I do my job, and everything else will work out."
NUTS N’ BOLTS
· Chargers injury report: FULL: QB Tyrod Taylor (ribs), LT Sam Tevi (thumb). LIMITED: DT Linval Joseph (elbow), RT Bryan Bulaga (back), WR Keenan Allen (back), RB Justin Jackson (knee). DNP: RG Trai Turner (groin), T Storm Norton (knee).