Wide receiver LaQuan Williams could have used any number of words to describe his most impactful performance since joining the Ravens before the 2011 season. The one he chose was "relieving."
“Once you work so hard to try to do something and then you see how it pans out, that’s why I said it’s relieving,” Williams said.
The former Poly and University of Maryland standout starred on both offense and special teams in the Ravens’ preseason-opening 44-16 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night at Raymond James Stadium. On offense, Williams had two catches for 32 yards, including a 21-yard touchdown pass from Tyrod Taylor in the back of the end zone early in the third quarter.
On special teams, he recovered kick returner Chris Owusu’s fumble early in the second quarter, setting up Bernard Pierce’s 20-yard touchdown run on the very next play. He then pounced on a loose ball in the Buccaneers’ end zone later in the quarter after undrafted rookie Brynden Trawick blocked Chas Henry’s punt attempt. The touchdown gave the Ravens a 24-13 lead heading into halftime.
"Every day I come out and play my best,” Williams said. “That’s what it comes down to. I just want to keep stacking days and, hopefully, I can solidify my spot on the team. That’s why I’m focused right now. I’m trying to solidify my spot on the team.”
Williams, who has four regular-season catches for 46 yards over two NFL seasons, has been the forgotten man in the Ravens’ much-scrutinized wide receiver competition. However, on a night when Deonte Thompson had only one catch before leaving with a left ankle injury, Tandon Doss and Jacoby Jones finished with no catches and David Reed didn’t play at all because of a groin injury, Williams continued his strong training camp.
The fumble recoveries were certainly a case of being in the right place at the right time, but the 25-year-old made a nice, athletic play on Taylor’s touchdown pass, catching the ball over a Buccaneers defender and making sure he kept his feet inbounds.
“Tyrod gave me a chance to go up and make a play, and I just tried to make sure my foot was on the ground once I caught the ball,” Williams said.
Williams, 25, has been on the roster bubble the past two preseasons. However, he’s made the team on the strength of strong training camps and his ability to play special teams. He admitted that he entered this training camp more confident and relaxed because he knows what to expect and he’s outlasted and outplayed his competition for roster spots before.
Last night was a big step toward him doing it again.
“LaQuan played really well,” Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. “It was good to see him step up and make plays. Here’s a guy that just brings his lunch pail every single week. He puts on his blue-collar work shirt and goes to work. He’s got tremendous talent. He flashes a lot, but he made plays with consistency, stacked plays. That was good to see.”Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun