DeAngelo Williams delivered an attention-getting performance throughout his Steelers' debut at New England, but his Steelers coaches and teammates nonetheless saw what they had anticipated all along.
"We're not surprised by what he did," head coach Mike Tomlin insisted after Williams rumbled for 127 yards on 21 carries and averaged 6.0 yards per carry in last Thursday night's 28-21 loss to the Patriots.
"As a matter of fact, we expect it."
Added guard Ramon Foster: "DeAngelo's no slappy. He's a guy that's played in this league as a first-rounder (27th overall in 2006). He knows how to run the ball.
"We did our job up front and I'm sure the fantasy guys wish they would have started him tonight."
NBC announcers Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth were clearly impressed (Collinsworth repeatedly mentioned how good Williams looked in the wake of having dropped 15 pounds).
And a post on the Charlotte Observer's website this morning was accompanied by a headline that wondered "Why wasn't DeAngelo Williams that quick his last few years at Carolina?"
Williams rushed just 62 times for 219 yards and averaged 3.5 yards per attempt in an injury-plagued 2014 season in Carolina, his last with the Panthers.
And he hadn't had a 100-yard game since a 23-carry, 120-yard effort on Sept. 22, 2013 against the New York Football Giants.
The Steelers' expectations for Williams in place of suspended running back Le'Veon Bell were forged in part by what they'd seen from Williams since they had signed him as an unrestricted free agent.
"He ran in a similar manner in the preseason, although in limited exposure," Tomlin said.
Williams, like Foster, cited the job getting done up front.
In his first game in a Steelers uniform, DeAngelo Williams rushed for 127 yards on 21 carries at New England in the 2015 season opener.
"I was just a product of great blocking," Williams said.
His big night also resulted, in part, from the Steelers taking what the Patriots had made available defensively.
"They kept giving us two-high (safeties) and giving us running situations," Williams said. "I think that's where a lot of our success came in the running game.
"I mean, a lot of people are scared to pressure Ben (Roethlisberger), the quarterback he is, and what he brings to the table."
Williams brought plenty, as well, which is what he was hoping to do all along.
Only Chicago's Matt Forte (141) had more rushing yards than Williams on the NFL's opening weekend in advance of the two Monday Night Football matchups (Philadelphia at Atlanta and Minnesota at San Francisco).
"It felt good being that last season wasn't the ideal season that I wanted to have and then having one team give up on you and another team give you an opportunity," Williams said. 'I think I'm truly one of those guys that, 'One man's trash is another man's treasure.'"