Allen Park — Detroit Lions running back Jamaal Williams racked up some meaningful milestones in Sunday’s season finale against the Green Bay Packers, going over 1,000 yards for the first time in his career while topping Barry Sanders for the franchise’s single-season mark for rushing touchdowns.
Now, Williams has been named the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Week, becoming the first Lions running back to win the award since Kevin Smith in 2011.
Playing his former team, Williams capped a stellar year with 72 yards on 16 carries against the Packers, including a pair of second-half touchdowns that gave him a league-leading 17 on the year. The second score broke Sanders’ 31-year-old franchise record for rushing TDs. Williams also blasted past the 1,000-yard plateau, finishing with 1,066 yards on 262 carries, also a career-high.
After the game, an emotional and reflective Williams acknowledged he had dedicated his performance to two family members who had passed away this year, his father and great-grandfather.
“It’s just been a lot and my heart has been heavy for a little bit, but I’ve always tried to smile and just make sure that I’m there for my team and being a great teammate,” Williams said. “I’m grateful for them for just being my brothers and just understanding what I’ve been through. I try to keep it quiet, not put my business out there like that, but I had to make sure I let them know this game was very special to me.”
Williams joined the Lions on a two-year deal ahead of the 2021 season. Sunday marked his final game under that contract, but the 27-yard-old rusher expressed a strong desire to remain in Detroit after Sunday’s victory.
Williams is the sixth Lions player to earn Player of the Week honors during the 2022 season and first on offense since wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown in Week 2. Rookies Kerby Joseph and Aidan Hutchinson also were named the conference’s defensive Players of the Week in week 9 and week 11, respectively, while kicker Michael Badgley and return man Kalif Raymond netted the honors for special teams in Weeks 13 and 15.
The six awards in one season matched a franchise-high set by the 1995 Lions.