Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams has been named the Week 18 NFC Offensive Player of the week. Williams rushed for 72 yards (4.5 YPC) and two touchdowns on 16 carries against the Green Bay Packers in the team’s 20-16 season finale victory.
Perhaps more notably, however, were the season-long accomplishments that Williams achieved on Sunday night. He crossed over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career, and became the first Lions running back to do so since Reggie Bush in 2013.
More impressively, Williams’ two rushing touchdowns pushed him to a league-leading 16 on the season. Those 17 rushing touchdowns set a new franchise mark for the Lions, with Williams surpassing Hall of Famer Barry Sanders, who set the mark at 16 rushing touchdowns back in 1991.
After the game, Williams spoke to NBC about what it meant to him breaking Sanders’ record, noting that he was motivated by the recent loss of his great grandfather.
“My great grandfather died on me, and I just dedicate this to him,” Williams said with tears in his eyes. “I’m just grateful to do this for him, my grandfather, he was 92, but I was just grateful for him to be in my life, and I’m grateful to be able to play football and do this for him. It’s a lot of memories, it’s a lot of emotions happening right now, but I’m just grateful. I’m just grateful to be able to play this game for my great grandfather, and I’m glad that he’s looking down on me and I know I’m making him proud.”
And that’s when Williams’ post-game interview took an even more awesome turn.
“And another thing, stop playing us, man,” Williams continued. “We the Detroit Lions. We the Detroit Lions, stop playing with us. I don’t even watch TV but I heard everybody already picked the Packers over us. Stop playing with us! That’s all I gotta say.”
Williams is the first Lions running back to win the award since 2011 (Kevin Smith), and the sixth Lion to win Player of the Week honors this season. Per the Lions PR department, that’s the most honors the Lions have received in a season in franchise history, tying their 1995 squad.
Williams is set to become a free agent in 2023, but let’s hope this wasn’t the last time we saw him in Honolulu Blue. If it was, it was one hell of a way to go out.