Jameson Williams has earned his stripes. Or as Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell said after Sunday's 31-26 win over Chicago, the second-year wide receiver has earned his membership to the herd.
"He's part of the herd," Campbell said. "He's been accepted. The way he goes and blocks and he's starting to run some pretty good routes. He's making some catches. There's a lot of guys that are beginning to trust him."
The fact that quarterback Jared Goff trusted Williams enough to go to him for a critical 32-yard touchdown with less than three minutes remaining in the game speaks volumes to Goff's confidence in Detroit's 2022 first-round pick. It also says a lot about the work Williams has put in to earn that trust.
View photos from the Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions Week 11 game at Ford Field on Sunday, Nov. 19 in Detroit, MI.
"The last couple weeks for him have been so good," Goff said of Williams. "He's practiced so well, and we do trust him now. I trust him a lot. I trust him to make that throw."
Williams finished with two receptions for 44 yards and a touchdown. His 32-yard touchdown showed off what kind of player he can be with his speed and how much more dangerous this offense is when they find ways to get him the football.
"Yeah, I had a pylon route. I kind of saw the safety before the play, we are running it off of him, so if he was inside of me, I know once I get about 12 or 15 yards if he is not able to run with me to the back pylon then we got him," Williams said of his touchdown grab.
"But it's open, after that, we make that read it's on the corner, is he going to go high or low. It's me or it's a corner route under me. So, it's either or, Jared made the read and we just got on the board quick. We got a stop, we got back on the board again. So, it was good."
TUSH PUSH STOP
The final two stops of the game are what most people will remember from Detroit's defensive performance Sunday but there was another play that was big in Detroit's win.
The first play of the fourth quarter was a 3rd and 1 at the Detroit 23-yard line with Chicago leading 20-14 at the time.
The Bears went with the tush push quarterback sneak made famous by the Philadelphia Eagles. Chicago doesn't have the same kind of stout offensive line the Eagles do, and the Lions stuffed the play to force 4th and 1 and a Bears field goal.
A first down there and potentially a touchdown to finish that drive would have made it much harder for the Lions to come back and win Sunday.
"It was a huge stop," Campbell said. "That was as big as they come, that was as big as they come. Maybe a normal sequence of a game, they may be going for it and doing it again, but that's an opportunity to go up two scores with a field goal.
"So to be able to get that, for us to get that stop was huge. But look, I think it's – there's really no secret to it. It's about leverage and get-off. Get-off and leverage, and normally the offense has the upper hand on those things and then you need a guy who can really push. He gets the football, he can leg drive. So, I don't know the secret that Philly does a really good job of it and that quarterback he does a good job too. But we stopped it today, so it was big."
ANZALONE COMES UP BIG
Lions veteran linebacker Alex Anzalone was all over the field Sunday. Anzalone doesn't seem to get enough credit for the season he's having as he continues to make huge plays week after week for the Lions' defense.
He finished Sunday with 15 tackles and a key fumble recovery in the first half. He's the first Lions player since at least 1999 to produce a game with 15-plus tackles and a fumble recovery and the first player in the NFL to do it since 2020.