During minicamp, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi stated that receiver Mike Williams was going to be in a new role this season, and he could have a big year. The new role is playing the X-receiver Michael Thomas role from New Orleans.
Thomas is known for making life easier for the quarterback, whether on a slant, post, or any kind of route. Williams hadn't done that consistently for the Chargers.
"I was like, 'I appreciate it,'" said Williams. "Can't happen at a better time, and I'm excited for it. I'm looking for every opportunity. I'm ready for it."
He has been known more for his clutch down the field receptions going up against two defenders and coming down with the ball.
"I think he's an incredible receiver," said quarterback Justin Herbert. "He's one of those guys that goes up 50/50 balls or more like 75/25, and he showed up today, and he's a trustworthy guy."
If Sunday's performance was a small glimpse of what Williams can do in the role, then the offense and Williams are in for a big year.
On the opening drive, he made two catches, one for nine yards, to give the offense a second-and one situation. The other was a reception for 11 yards to move the chains. The offense would finish the drive scoring a touchdown on a three-yard Austin Ekeler rushing touchdown.
Right before the half, the offense faced third-and 3, so Herbert found Williams for a four-yard reception to move the chains. The drive would end in a Tristan Vizcaino field goal. Four yards? It might seem like a lot of yards, but on Sunday, Williams was moving the chains numerous times because of his different style of play.
He does have some things he needs to clean up. With momentum starting to turn to the home team in the third quarter, the Chargers had the ball on Washington's 20-yard line. Herbert throws a nice pass to Williams, and he dropped the ball. It would have been a touchdown.
"I f****** up," said an honest Williams.
He would make up for it later in the game.
After a turnover caused by the defense, the Chargers loaded the right side with four receivers in a bunch formation—Williams on an island with his corner. Herbert throws to Williams, and they connect on third down for a crucial touchdown.
"Big-time once again," said receiver Keenan Allen. "You know Mike 50/50 ball, he's going to come down with it. He is mad at himself right now because he didn't come down with one in the end zone. So, that is how we are. That is just how we compete. He will make the plays next week."
The last drive of the game was an example of great coaching mixed in with great execution. The offensive line, quarterback, and pass catchers finished the game off.
After two clutch third-down catches by Allen and K.J. Hill, Williams caught a back-shoulder catch for 20-yards on third down. There was another by Allen that iced the game, and victory formation finished it.
"You always got to find a way to win that's the main thing find a way to win these close games find a way to pull it out," explained Williams. "I know last year we were losing these types of games, but now, well, last week we won that one. It's tough to win the league and win those close ones that's a big for us."
The Chargers won a game that they would have lost in the past.
Williams finished with eight catches for 82 yards and one touchdown. It is only the first week of the season, but this offense looks a lot different. The role of Williams has increased, and looks like it is in his comfort zone.
New week, so Williams is already looking towards the Dallas Cowboys and caught a little bit of their game against the Buccaneers last week.
"Tampa Bay receivers looked like they was having some fun out there," said Williams.