Terrance Williams had five catches on Sunday. All of them were for first downs.
It marked the best game for Williams in what has been a rocky start to the season. He had the infamous gaffe of not running out of bounds in the final seconds of the season opener against the Giants, went catch-less in the second game at Washington and fumbled in Week 3 against the Bears.
“You pick each other up and particularly guys like Terrance who works so hard and it’s so important to him,” coach Jason Garrett said. “He’s so passionate about this team. He’s passionate about football and being the best he can be. So guy’s make mistakes. We all make mistakes. You learn from them and you move on.
“If you have a team that’s truly a team, they’re going to pick each other up an dhave each other’s back and fight together going forward. Our team has certainly done that with Terrance.”
On Sunday against the Bengals, Williams proved to be at the right spot at the right time and rookie quarterback Dak Prescott connected with him for critical first downs.
It’s the type of production the Cowboys need out of Williams, particularly with star receiver Dez Bryant sidelined with a knee injury.
“We just don’t blink this year,” Williams said. “Last year, there was kind of a panic. We’re not thinking about who is playing, we’re just playing football.”
Williams caught an 11-yard pass on second-and-8 for a first down on the Cowboys’ opening drive, and then had two more first-down catches on the second drive.
But his biggest catch came on the Cowboys’ final drive when he hauled in an 11-yard reception on third-and-7, which essentially closed out the game.
“Whenever you have a coach [Jason Garrett] that’s trying to get the mindset that we have to finish games and coach Garrett and coach Scott [Linehan] call on you, you have to be ready,” Williams said. “You can’t just think of a plan, you have to have a plan ready so the times they do call, you’re ready.”
In the past two games without Bryant, Williams has combined for eight catches for 114 yards with one TD on 11 targets.
During Bryant’s seven-game absence last season, Cowboys quarterbacks targeted Williams 51 times. He caught 25 passes for 468 yards and two touchdowns. Most of his damage was done in the season finale against the Redskins, who pulled most of their starters in the second half, when he caught eight passes for 173 yards.
Williams credits Prescott as the difference between his production this year compared to last when the Cowboys used three backup quarterbacks in place of Tony Romo.
“That’s the hardest part about it and most people don’t get it,” Williams said. “Whenever you have a guy like [Prescott] that knows what’s going on and that does all of the play mechanics right and knows what’s going on, that makes football fun. That takes the burden off your mind.
“That brings out the best in me. That brings out the best in [all of the receivers].”