GLENDALE, Ariz. – It’s not the 11-catch, 145-yard performance against the Arizona Cardinals that stays with Seahawks receiver Mike Williams.
It’s the three catches for 52 yards he had in the two previous games before Sunday that haunt him.
“I’ve been thinking about the last two – the one catch, two catch – having these little nagging things,” he said. “I challenged myself to get out here and play well. And collectively as a group, our group did really well.”
But for the second time this season, Williams was the best receiver on the field when his team faced Arizona, which is saying something because Larry Fitzgerald is on the other sideline.
The Cardinals, to their detriment, chose to continue to cover Williams for the most part with cornerback Greg Tolar, instead of putting their best corner – Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie – on him.
Part of that has to do with the fact that Arizona keeps its cornerbacks on the same side of the field each play, so Seattle could scheme to get Williams matched up on Tolar.
Furthermore, Williams made several catches against Rodgers-Cromartie in the first game between the two teams in Seattle.
At 6-foot even and 192 pounds, Tolar is one of the bigger cornerbacks in the league, but he consistently got beaten by Williams, to the point that he was replaced by 5-8 corner Michael Adams toward the end of the game.
Williams had 11 catches for 87 yards and a touchdown against Arizona at Qwest Field three games ago.
So in two contests, he has 22 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown against Arizona this year – or almost half his 46 catches on the year.
“Mike came through in a big way,” head coach Pete Carroll said. “I thought he really had some big-time catches and just big plays in general – and the one-handed deal and how he kind of scooped it around here, I don’t know how he did that one, but it’s great. He was really a factor for us.”
The most spectacular of Williams’ catches came late in the game, with the Seahawks backed up after an holding penalty on Tyler Polumbus.
Hasselbeck threw a seam route to Williams, who was matched up against Arizona safety Adrian Wilson, and Williams somehow reached back with his backhand to bring the ball in with one hand – the same hand he suffered a broken finger on in practice on Thursday.
“We got tangled up, and I was fighting him off,” Williams said. “Battling him slowed me down. It’s one of those plays where the ball is kind of out of reach and you just make an attempt at it. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. That was one of the plays that did.”
Williams said he broke his finger on the first pass of practice on Thursday, but it had no effect on his play.
But no matter how well Williams played Sunday, he still understands he needs to bring that type of effort every game.
“This is all about the game plan and execution,” he said. “We were able to execute, so now you move forward and get ready to get back on the road again.”