Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams is out for the rest of the season after suffering a torn ACL on Sunday in a Week 3 win.
Williams was injured late in the third quarter against the Vikings when he made an 11-yard reception. An MRI on Monday confirmed the diagnosis, and that the Bolts will be without Williams for the remainder of the 2023 season.
Here's what it means for the Chargers.
To start, it's a blow to an offense that has been humming through the first three weeks of the season. Entering Monday Night Football, the Bolts rank fourth in both passing yards per game (308.7) and passing yards per play (7.59).
Williams is a critical piece of the Bolts, both as a receiver and a blocker. He had 19 catches for 249 yards and a score this season, with the touchdown coming Sunday on a pass from Keenan Allen.
Williams' big-play potential isn't a secret.
According to NFL Next Gen Stats, Williams has the most receptions on jump balls (31) and leads all players in receiving yards (1,194) on passes thrown into tight windows in the past five seasons.
With Williams now out of the lineup for the rest of the year, there is now an opportunity for others to step up in his absence.
Expect defenses to focus more on Keenan Allen, who just had the best game of his career Sunday.
It also likely means an expanded role for Joshua Palmer, but the third-year wide receiver will be fine there. He stepped up in 2022 when both Allen and Williams battled injuries and also has a good rapport with Herbert.
Rookie Quentin Johnson will now likely have a bit bigger role, and perhaps Derius Davis sees a few more snaps,but you also can't expect any one player to replace what Williams brings to the team.
It will have to be a collective effort from the wide receivers … and the rest of the offense.
The Bolts still have Herbert, who was on fire Sunday. The offensive line was brilliant in Week 3, the tight ends are a strong group and the Bolts will also get Austin Ekeler back at some point, which will be a boost to the overall unit.
The Chargers will also rely on their coaching staff to make some adjustments, too, but Chargers Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore has shown plenty of creativity through three games.
Bolts wide receivers coach Chris Beatty is among the best in the business at his job, and you can bet he will have his group as prepared as ever going forward.
In short, everyone will have to help pull the rope with Williams gone for the season.
And everyone is sending good vibes to Williams, one of the most popular players in the locker room who will certainly be missed for the rest of the 2023 season.
Take a look back at the best photos of Mike Williams' 2022 campaign
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