The Los Angeles Chargers had already clinched a playoff spot, specifically, the AFC's top wild card spot and No. 5 seed, before taking the field in Week 18. However, that didn't prevent head coach Brandon Staley from playing the usual starters against the Denver Broncos in their 31-28 loss. That decision came with consequences between a hard hit on Pro Bowl quarterback Justin Herbert, who remained under center into the fourth quarter, plus star wide receiver Mike Williams and pass rusher Joey Bosa both leaving the game with separate ailments.
Williams' departure hurt since he leads the Chargers with 895 receiving yards, and he was carted to the locker room and ruled questionable to return with a back injury. The receiver made four catches before limping off, then receiving attention in the team's sideline medical tent. He battled a lingering ankle issue earlier this season, initially walked off the field under his own power but appeared much less mobile leaving the cart to actually enter the locker room.
The receiver was later seen struggling to walk from the locker room to the team bus after the game, per The Athletic, requiring assistance to move. The Chargers, appeared to have dodged a huge loss since Williams appeared to have suffered back spasms, according to ESPN, and X-rays came back negative. Williams has yet to practice this week, as DNP is listed next to his name for Tuesday's, Wednesday's, and Thursday's practice on the official practice report.
"The reps aren't what matter, the rest is," Chargers head coach Brandon Staley said Thursday, according to NFL Media, when asked about Williams' progression throughout this week. Staley also said it is "fair to say" that the 28-year-old receiver could play in Saturday's Super Wild Card Weekend matchup at the AFC South champion Jacksonville Jaguars even if he doesn't practice at all leading up to the game, according to The Athletic. The Jaguars allow only 19.3 points per game at home this season, the 11th-fewest in the NFL, so the Chargers will likely need Williams to be able to contribute Saturday in order to keep their season alive. Herbert has been a much better passer when both Williams and five-time Pro Bowl wideout Keenan Allen have played this season as opposed to when one or both haven't been on the field.
Justin Herbert with Mike Williams and Keenan Allen on/off field this season
|Both On-Field||At Least One Off-Field|