Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams rushed for 143 yards in Week 1 against the Washington Redskins, earning him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.
Running back Le'Veon Bell was named the AFC Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Washington Redskins on Monday Night Football.
Williams had 26 carries for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the Steelers 38-16 win. Williams added six receptions for 28 yards. Williams 143 rushing yards were the most in a season opener for the Steelers since Willie Parker rushed for 161 yards against Tennessee on Sept. 11, 2005. With his performance on Monday night he became the fifth active player with at least 7,500 rushing yards, at least 2,000 receiving yards and at least 60 total touchdowns in a career.
"He was impressive in the run game, the pass game, but that's what we expect from him," said quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. "We know what we get and that's why we have him here."
This is the first time that Williams' has won AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors, despite strong performances last season that earned him the FedEx Ground Player of the Week against Oakland and Indianapolis. He was named NFC Player of the Week in Week 14 of 2008 while with the Carolina Panthers.
Williams has stepped in as the starter with Le'Veon Bell serving a three-game suspension, and his performance is not a surprise to the Steelers as the 11-year veteran did the same thing last year.
"You can't say enough about DeAngelo Williams and his performance," said Coach Mike Tomlin. "We've come to expect that from him. That's why we're completely confident in his ability to deliver during the time that Bell is out. We will continue to ride with him."
While Williams is getting praise for his performance, he gives credit to the Steelers offensive line.
"I've got to give all that credit to the offensive line," said Williams. "I think if you put any back back there with Ben, because of the attention that he garners, it's tough to stop the pass. You've got to pick your poison. That's why I think I am fortunate to do what I did. The offensive line does a great job of opening holes. I was running through a lot of holes."
Williams literally handled the workload at running back, with Fitzgerald Toussaint getting only three carries, and said he didn't know he would be getting that much work.
"It just worked out that way," said Williams. "I didn't know it was coming. I don't know if it was coming through the headset or Ben. Ben makes those calls and we try to execute those plays the best as possible. We practice all of those plays you saw today in practice, at a higher tempo. That's why the game came easier to us in communication.
"I enjoy doing what is needed to win football games. And if that means me being in that spot, then absolutely. If I don't have to be in that spot but we win, I'll take the win."
Williams joins Roethlisberger (13 times), Bell (once) and Antonio Brown (once) as current Steelers who have won AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors.