D’Andre Swift injury brings potential opportunity for Jamaal Williams

With doubt about D’Andre Swift’s status going forward, opportunity is set to knock for Jamaal Williams.

The Detroit Lions had another narrow loss on Thursday, 16-14 to the Chicago Bears on a final play field goal by Cairo Santos. But injury was added to that insult in the first half, as running back D’Andre Swift suffered a shoulder injury and did not return.

After the game, Lions’ head coach Dan Campbell called Swift’s injury a shoulder sprain.

“It’s a wait and see (injury),” “It’s a shoulder sprain. We’ll see where it goes.”

Swift had zero rushing yards on three carries and three catches for nine yards before exiting the game. It’s early to make any declarations on his injury or how much time he might miss, but an instant reaction from Pro Football Focus injury analyst Mario Pilato might be telling.

In Swift’s place, Jamaal Williams stepped into the lead back role for the Lions and finished with 15 carries for 65 yards while adding five catches (on five targets) for 18 yards. Godwin Igwebuike had one carry for 11 yards with one passing game target, while rookie Jermar Jefferson picked up a few snaps but registered no stats.

D’Andre Swift injury reeks of an opportunity for Jamaal Williams

In his first seven games this season, Williams had double-digit touches in all but one and double-digit carries four times (nine or more carries five times). He missed games on each side of the Lions’ Week 9 bye, during which time Swift asserted himself as a workhorse, then he played just 13 snaps in his return to action Week 11.

But when Williams is on the field, he touches the ball. He played 180 snaps in eight games before Thursday, with 94 touches and 96 opportunities (targets and carries). On Thursday he had 20 touches on 31 snaps, as he cleared 30 snaps in a game for the first time since Week 3.

After Swift left Thursday’s game, as passed along by PFF’s Nathan Jahnke, Williams played 23 snaps to Igwebuike’s five and Jefferson’s four. As a raw percentage, without exactly knowing or accounting for snaps sharing the field, that was a 71.9 percent snap share after Swift exited. Even adjusting for a shared snap or two, that’s a significant share and Williams dominated the backfield touches anyway.

More concrete news on Swift’s injury should come soon. But in a scenario where he misses time, opportunity is lined up to knock loudly for Williams.