Williams ran for 43 yards on 13 carries and caught a nine-yard pass on one target against Green Bay on Sunday. Williams' 13 carries led the team while D'Andre Swift ranked second with seven. The deal with Williams is clear enough by now: he's a running back coaches trust to pick up the blitz and hold on to the football, and he'll always run with determination. His ability to actually produce from scrimmage grades less favorably and gives reason for the Lions to contain his snap count going forward. He finishes 2021 with 601 yards and three touchdowns rushing on 153 carries (3.9 YPC) while catching 26 passes for 157 yards on 28 targets (92.9 percent catch rate, 5.6 YPT). While Williams might not be a roster lock for the Lions in 2022, he has one more year left on the two-year, $6 million deal he signed with Detroit before this season.
Williams ran for 22 yards and one touchdown on 11 carries and caught three passes for 22 yards on three targets against Seattle on Sunday. Williams' usage was surprisingly high given the return of D'Andre Swift, who was believed to be fully cleared from a shoulder injury, but Swift saw only four carries and three targets. It's not clear whether Swift's shoulder or anything else influenced the game plan, but it's worth noting that Swift had more yardage on one carry (31) than Williams did on his 11. Williams faces his former Packers teammates in Week 18.
Williams is expected to drop to second on the depth chart for Sunday's game against the Seahawks with lead back D'Andre Swift (shoulder) making his return to the lineup following a four-game absence, Justin Rogers of The Detroit News reports. In last week's 20-16 loss to the Falcons, Williams made his return from a two-game absence caused by a positive COVID-19 test. While Swift was sidelined for his fourth straight game that week, Williams stepped in as the lead option out of the backfield. Though he still played only 42 percent of the snaps on offense while operating in a timeshare with Craig Reynolds (40 percent), Williams was fed the ball when he was on the field, as he carried 19 times for 77 yards. Reynolds, meanwhile, served mainly as a pass-catching/change-of-pace option, but the return of Swift -- who isn't expected to face restrictions Sunday after practicing fully all week -- may leave Reynolds without much of a role. Williams will see a reduction in usage as well, though he's managed to earn double-digit touches in six of the eight games this season in which both he and Swift have been active.
Williams rushed 19 times for 77 yards during Sunday's 20-16 loss to Atlanta. Back from the COVID-19 reserve list, Williams picked up another start with D'Andre Swift (shoulder) sidelined for a fourth consecutive game. However, both Craig Reynolds (four targets) and fullback Jason Cabinda (two) were more involved in the passing game, and Reynolds also stole 11 carries from him. While Williams should again be the lead ball carrier in Week 17 against Seattle if Swift remains sidelined, it seems clear that he won't monopolize backfield touches given Reynolds' emergence.
Williams and Craig Reynolds will serve as the Lions' primary running backs Sunday in Atlanta, Tim Twentyman of the team's official site reports. Detroit opted to keep D'Andre Swift on street clothes for a fourth consecutive contest as he continues his recovery from an AC joint sprain in his shoulder. Williams is back in the lineup after missing two games on the reserve/COVID-19 list, and he'll split reps out of the backfield with Reynolds. Considering Reynolds reeled off 216 yards from scrimmage on 40 touches during Williams' absence, the former could be the early-down runner Sunday while the latter serves in a change-of-pace role.
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