CARSON, CA-The Los Angeles Chargers claimed their first win of the 2018 NFL season, albeit during the preseason, with an impressive victory against the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday, Aug. 18. So how much stock should anyone put into a preseason game? There is some credence. But preseason basically operates as a gauge for roster spots going into the regular season and a chance for players to get game reps.
With that considered, there were a couple of players on the Chargers’ sideline that could have a good season should the 24-14 win at StubHub Center serve as any kind of indicator. Wide receiver Mike Williams had only one catch on the night. However, it was the way that Williams caught the ball that reminded people why he was the Chargers top draft pick just a year ago.
After leaving a defender in his dust on a route into the endzone, Williams took off on his elevator chute to try to haul in a perfectly thrown pass by Geno Smith that was navigated towards the back pylon in the right corner. Unfortunately, for the Seahawk defender guarding him, Williams kept going up until he plucked the football out of the Saturday evening air with his massive hands, giving the Seattle player a lesson in posterization in the third quarter.
This was truly a “wow” moment for Williams and the Chargers.
“Oh yeah, that’s all Mike,” said Smith, who completed six out of eight passes for 75 yards and that one touchdown in backup duties. “Mike’s a great receiver and you need to give him a chance [to go up and catch the ball]. The [offensive] line did a great job protecting me and giving me a shot to get back there and deliver. That’s why he was drafted early and he showcased some of his ability.”
For his part, Williams deflected what he did, giving kudos to Smith for putting the ball in the right place to go after in the first place.
“I’d just seen it on the field a couple plays before that when I was on the sideline — coach let me get a ‘go’ ball,” said Williams. “He believed in me, called the play and the results were good. [QB] Geno [Smith] gave me a chance to go up and make a play, and I went up and got it. I just needed it. I felt like I was doing it in practice and I just needed to translate it to a game.”
The other guy with a big night was wide receiver J.J. Jones. Jones is one of those players fighting to earn a spot on the Chargers’ 53-man roster. He may have earned his keep with his sensational 72-yard punt return for a touchdown in the second quarter to help stake the Chargers to a 14-8 lead.
“Just a great call from [assistant head coach/special teams coordinator George Stewart],” Jones said about the game’s most spectacular play. “I just have to thank all my teammates, the other 10 guys that were out there with me, helping me sprint that 72-yard touchdown. Coach Stew called a great play, middle return and it opened up like the Red Sea and I just hit it. Just made a play for the team.”