Skip to main content
Presented by

Ravens Envision Big Plays From Marcus Williams Down the Stretch


It was obvious the kind of grinder Ravens safety Marcus Williams is when he was forced to try to make a one-armed tackle on hulking Titans running back Derrick Henry in London.

Williams dealt with a pectoral injury that sidelined him for three games earlier this season, then suffered a hamstring injury that knocked him out for two more games.

But over the past couple games, Williams has looked more like his usual self. And following the Ravens' bye, he's ready to make his impact felt down the stretch. He opted not to get surgery this offseason for this playoff push.

"You can see it really start to come together in the last game," Head Coach John Harbaugh said. "I mentioned to him Monday in practice that I feel like he's ready to step out and go make some big plays for us. He's getting around the ball now, made a couple hard-hitting tackles.

"He's a guy you don't want to forget about. He's a great football player. Marcus is a great football player. Having him back there is a big plus for us."

Williams made five tackles and broke up two passes against the Bengals in Week 11. In Los Angeles, he ranged far to knock down a deep pass and logged five more stops. He seems to have much better use of both arms now and it's showing.

"I was never really worried about the injuries. I was just trying to get back with my feet under me after missing a couple games. Little by little, I'm getting there," Williams said.

"Every game feels like a playoff game to me. I just embrace the opportunities I get. Every one is not guaranteed for you."

Will Kyle Hamilton Rip His Friend's Face Off?

Before the bye, Ravens Pass Game Coordinator/Secondary Coach Chris Hewitt had the quote of the week about safety Kyle Hamilton.

"Don't let the babyface fool you. He'll try to rip your face off," Hewitt said.

This week, Hamilton will have to try to do that to one of his best friends. Hamilton is very tight with Rams running back Kyren Williams dating back to their college days together at Notre Dame.

"I was texting him earlier this week about how we've thought about this moment since we were both freshmen in college, first day on campus together, going at it in practice every day," Hamilton said. "It's fun to see him succeeding because I know how good of a player he is. He's one of my best friends. It's going to be dope.

"We used to do everything pretty much together. We were in the same dorm. We lived in the same neighborhood once we moved off campus. That was my boy in college and he's still my boy to this day."

Hamilton was the 14th-overall pick in last year's draft. Williams was a fifth-round selection. Both are having breakout sophomore seasons.

Hamilton has already surpassed his strong rookie production with two interceptions, three sacks, and 62 tackles, including eight for loss. He's currently leading Pro Bowl fan voting at strong safety. After rushing for just 139 yards in 10 games as a rookie, Williams has become the Rams' starter and is averaging nearly 86 rushing yards per game and has 10 total touchdowns.

Cornerback Marlon Humphrey said Ravens players have been teasing Hamilton this week that he better not take it easy against his college buddy. It shouldn't be a problem.

"I think probably the most interesting thing about Kyle is how he walks around here is not who he is on Sunday," Humphrey said. "He's a really cool guy. Cool to hang out with. You wouldn't think he plays the way he acts. That's a really cool thing to see him turn that switch on and off every Sunday. He's like a bully out there."

John Harbaugh Really Liked Puka Nacua

One of the biggest surprises of the NFL season has been the emergence of Rams rookie wide receiver Puka Nacua. The fifth-round pick out of BYU has the seventh-most receiving yards (1,029) in the NFL.

Don't count Head Coach John Harbaugh among those who are stunned by the rookie's success, however.

"Oh yeah, I liked him. He was one of my highest-rated guys. You can ask anybody here," Harbaugh said. "Ask the wide receiver coach, ask the scouts. He was way up on my board. He's playing exactly how I thought he would, for the record."

Of course, the Ravens are quite happy with their first-round selection of wide receiver Zay Flowers. But Nacua would have been nice, too. The Ravens picked cornerback Kyu Kelly (now with the Packers) in the fifth round. Nacua went as the final pick of that round.

To be fair, the Rams clearly didn't think Nacua would be this good. They grabbed two players (an offensive tackle and tight end) with back-to-back picks two slots before taking Nacua.

Nacua and veteran Rams receiver Cooper Kupp, the 2021 NFL Offensive Player of the Year and Super Bowl LVI MVP, are one of the league's top receiver duos.

"They find really good ways to get open," Humphrey said. "They can beat man coverage, they're really good in zone. Those two guys together, it's kind of hard. Which one do you want to try to stop or limit? So we'll definitely have our hands full Sunday."

Will the Ravens 'Win' Another Matchup With Aaron Donald?

The Ravens have played three games against all-world Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald and he has 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble.

This time, the Ravens will have their best center yet, Tyler Linderbaum, going against Donald, and they hope to have similar results. While Donald's 6.0 sacks this season aren't on pace with previous seasons, he still has game-wrecker potential.

"It's going to be a really tough challenge for the unit," Linderbaum said. "His playmaking ability, how explosive he is, definitely makes it challenging for an offensive lineman to go against him. He's definitely a guy that you have to know where he's at at all times."

Related Content