Speed is Jameson Williams’ calling card, and the Lions’ rookie wide receiver torched the Vikings defense on his lone catch in Week 14.
After playing eight snaps in his NFL debut in Week 13, his second game brough the promise of more work for Detroit Lions rookie wide receiver Jameson Williams. He played 13 offensive snaps, with one catch on two targets.
Of course that one catch was a 41-yard touchdown to open the scoring, and set an early tone for the Lions on their way to a 34-23 win over the Minnesota Vikings.
Speed was Williams calling card entering the draft in April, and despite a torn ACL in last season’s national title game playing for Alabama there was every confidence he’d regain that speed once he recovered.
The Vikings blew their coverage, due primarily to the absence of veteran safety Harrison Smith, leaving Williams so wide open he was able to wait for Jared Goff’s throw. But Williams was clearly moving pretty fast, which only further spotlighted the blown coverage by Minnesota.
But how fast was Williams moving, you ask? Luckily, technology can tell us.
Jameson Williams was the fastest wide receiver in the NFL Week 14
Via NFL Next Gen Stats and Zebra Technologies, courtesy of Jeff Risdon of Lions Wire.
"Jameson Williams’ 1st NFL catch was for a TD. Williams was wide open on the play and had 10.9 yards of separation when the pass arrived, the 2nd most open reception on a pass traveling 30+ air yards this season. He reached 20.31 mph on the play, the fastest speed by a WR on a reception this week."
In his second NFL game, and less than 11 months removed from a major knee injury, Williams reached over 20 miles per hour on the play that yielded his first career catch.
The nearly 11 yards of separation (the second-most reception on a throw of 30-plus air yards this season) can be seen as equal parts due to his speed and the Vikings’ blown coverage on the back end. But, as mentioned, Williams’ speed accentuated the defense’s mistake and made Minnesota pay on the first of Detroit’s two 40-plus yard passing scores last Sunday.