Le'Veon Bell’ eyes lit up, his smile widened and he had the look of a proud big brother as he started to talk about fellow running backs Fitzgerald Touissant and Jordan Todman and the job they did filling in at running back against the Bengals in the AFC Wild Card game.
“I think they did a tremendous job going in and doing the things they did, rushing for over 100 yards combined, and contributing in the passing game as well,” said Williams. “A lot of people don’t know who they are. I saw somebody called them TNT and I thought that is the perfect name for them, them being dynamite. That is the way that they played.”
Toussaint and Todman, who had combined for only 64 yards rushing during the regular season, were given the job of filling in for Williams, who was out with a foot injury suffered against the Browns in the regular season finale.
They responded like Williams thought they would. Toussaint had 17 carries for 58 yards and four receptions for 60 yards, while Todman had 11 carries for 65 yards.
“You can’t let injuries dictate the outcome of a football game,” said Williams. “You have to persevere and keep fighting. That is how we are. If there is a blade of grass to defend or take, we do it.
“You can tell everybody is playing at a high level. In the playoffs you have to step your game up and that is exactly what we did. We stepped our game up and our level of play. It’s even more important when guys step up for a guy that went down in front of them. That is what I did with Le’Veon (Bell) earlier in the season, not trying to replace him but keep the production at a high level so we keep winning football games. Then I go down and the two of them step in and we have Toussaint and Todman stepping in and doing what they did. It’s great to have that. A lot of teams don’t have that luxury.”
And while Williams was likely the biggest fan of the running back combo on Saturday night, being in that role was killer for him.
“It was very tough to watch,” said Williams. “A lot of people don’t understand when you play this game to sit there and watch from a bird’s eye view, from television, that is different. When you are at the game, you are on the bench and not in uniform and the adrenaline is pumping and you have to mentally tell yourself to calm down.
“You know what is going through guy’s heads. You want to be out there with your guys. You want to be the guy talking about what the conversion is, rather than hearing about it.”