Wow – you can expect to see that touchdown catch on highlight reels for years to come.
With 6:43 to go in the first half and the Chargers leading 7-3, Philip Rivers took the snap at the Browns’ 45, dropped back in the pocket and launched deep into the end zone.
As soon as he let go, he thought it was a sure-fire interception.
Rivers was looking to hit Tyrell Williams in the end zone, but felt he underthrew it, which figured to be certain disaster considering there were three defensive backs covering him.
Instead, it was a ridiculous touchdown as Williams wrestled the ball away from the cornerback as he fell to the turf, the simultaneous catch resulting in six points for the Bolts.
“It was a heck of a play,” Rivers said. “We ran a different formation, but the exact same play back-to-back and got the same coverage both times or a different version of the same coverage. I thought we had it, and I was trying to make sure this safety over here committed to (Sean) Culkin on the corner route. He did, and then wheeled out of it right at the last second. When the ball was about halfway there, I thought it was intercepted. Tyrell did a great job.”
The play sparked the Bolts as from that moment on, they were in complete control, eventually routing the Browns, 38-14.
“The first one in the end zone, that brings the excitement,” said Keenan Allen. “When guys make a play like that, we’re ready to go…. (He’s) attacking the ball when it’s in the air, making contested catches with DBs on him. Having the opportunity to go get the ball in the air and come down with it, that’s amazing.”
“It motivates you,” added Melvin Gordon. “This game is played off of energy, and when you got a guy going out there and making stuff happen like that, that gives you the motivation. (It makes me feel like) I have to go get it, and everyone feeds off of that. We felt that today.”
Head Coach Anthony Lynn was particularly proud of the catch considering the amount of hard work the wideout has put in behind the scenes to perfect the art of high-pointing the ball.
“It’s just something that just didn’t come natural with him,” he explained. “I see him working at it every day outside my office out on the field, high-pointing balls (and) high-pointing balls (over and over). Today, he went up and got a very important one … That’s what I’m talking about. That’s something that one year ago, you wouldn’t have seen from him. That’s just this guy developing into a complete receiver, and he works at it. His work ethic is just as good as anybody’s on this team. I’m not surprised to see him do it, but I’m glad he made the play.”
However, that catch was just one part of a banner day for the wide receiver.
Williams finished with three catches for 118 yards and two touchdowns. It marked the first time in his career he had two touchdowns in a single game. The first TD also marked the 14th of his career, which is the third-most in franchise history by an undrafted player behind only Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd.
Williams’ 45-yard score came on the heels of a 44-yard reception he hauled in on a pin drop pass from Rivers with the Bolts backed up on their own 11-yardline. The back-to-back receptions accounted for a two-play, 89-yard drive the Chargers needed badly at the time.
Still, Williams wasn’t done, as he made another contested catch in the end zone on 3rd-and-6 from the Cleveland 29, giving the Chargers a commanding 21-3 lead with less than a minute to go in the half.
“It was huge,” Rivers said. “He caught the other one in the post, as well, and then the two-minute drive shortly after that. That was a big span because we were sputtering a little bit. I wasn’t throwing it very well, and we were standing in our own end zone during a couple of series back to back. I think we had only 24 plays in the first half so that was big. We were able to keep in control form there.”
In a loaded Bolts offense, the 6-4, 204-pound wideout can sometimes get lost in the shuffle.
However, Williams knows he must be ready whenever his number gets called, and the Chargers continue to reap the rewards as a result.
“(It’s) definitely difficult to get into (rhythm before the first catch), but once I get one, I’m in a rhythm and I feel good after that,” he explained. “I’m not worried about (how many passes are thrown my way). If I get the opportunity, I want to make sure I am ready for those and help the team win. We have a lot of guys and different weapons, so if we’re winning, we’re good.”