HOUSTON – Raiders receiver Tyrell Williams played the entire first half without a single target. Quarterback Derek Carr has been looking in different directions during the receiver's three-week absence from the practice and playing fields due to a nasty bout with plantar fasciitis, but Carr realized at halftime he had to get Williams involved.
Carr went Williams’ way several times late against the Houston Texans on Sunday at NRG Stadium, including two deep shots that produced 65 yards and the receiver’s fifth touchdown in as many games.
Then, in crunch time, with the Raiders down three points with five minutes left, Carr went back to the well.
Carr went deep to Williams down the right sideline, and the slightly underthrown pass clanged off two hands.
Carr tried to make a deep connection on 3rd-and-16, with the game on the line, and Williams got two hands on the ball but couldn’t bring it with him to the ground. Former Raiders cornerback Gareon Conley got a hand on Williams’ forearm and disrupted the completion, but that’s a play Williams says he should have made in the Raiders' heartbreaking 27-24 Week 8 loss to the Texans.
“I just have to come down with it,” Williams said “I have to be strong with it at the point of contact. It’s as simple as that.”
Williams believes he should have made both catches, which would have put the team well within Daniel Carlson's field-goal range, and didn’t try to excuse either one in his return to action.
“I’ll look back at this game and see missed opportunities for myself,” Williams said. “I just have to make those plays on that last drive. There are easy fixes. I just have to make those plays.”
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Carr made it clear that Williams will keep getting opportunities even though he missed some important ones down the stretch.
“There are two or three that he wants back, but you guys know me. I’m going to keep throwing it to him,” Carr said. “When we had [Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree] rolling, a drop didn’t matter. I was going to keep throwing them the ball. They are going to get chances. The ball is still coming with confidence.
"Whenever they want to single him up and make him beat us, we’re going to take that chance. There were probably two or three where I could’ve delivered a better ball or that he’d want back.”