The Falcons opened Sunday’s matchup against the Bills slow. In a game to keep their season alive, Atlanta’s offense failed to advance the ball beyond midfield on their opening drive. Facing one of the most high-powered offenses in football, it was paramount Arthur Smith’s team start fast. After Matt Ryan’s first drive stalled, the game completely shifted for the Falcons.
Thomas Morstead came out and punted the ball into the snowy Buffalo sky, which Bills return man Marquez Stevenson fielded. As he proceeded to make his first move, Avery Williams was already in Stevenson’s grill. Williams put his facemask right on the ball and forced a fumble that dribbled into the end zone after multiple players attempted to fall on the ball. Eventually, Jake Kumerow of the Bills recovered it in the end zone, resulting in a safety to put the Falcons up 2-0.
Heads up play by rookie Avery Williams #Falcons take 2-0 lead. pic.twitter.com/YeUpThf7Cs
— Evan Birchfield (@EvanBirchfield) January 2, 2022
The huge turnover created by Williams was a potential catalyst for an unlikely upset, but the Falcons could not keep their playoff hopes alive. All eyes have now shifted to the offseason and assessing the current roster. Well, Williams seems to be a cornerstone special teamer; the rookie fifth-round pick will be the Falcons special teams ace for the next decade.
He can affect the game as a gunner and as a return man, and his prowess should only improve in the third phase as he gains more experience. Against the Bills, Williams was given an elite 90.3 grade by Pro Football Focus after his forced turnover. If he’s even close to the type of player Matthew Slater is for the Patriots, everything Williams provides on defense should just be cream on the top.
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