"It was a mixture of surprise and excitement and then finally of frustration when I got out there," Williams said in the locker room after the game. "I wasn't at all satisfied with what I accomplished. I just wasn't playing up to where I see my abilities. I was too nervous I guess, and I spent much more time thinking instead of simply reacting. That's a common rookie mistake."
That Williams would still be making what he considers a rookie mistake during his second year with the Bears isn't surprising. After all, this was his first regular season game filling in as a starter.
"Being on IR all last season was difficult both physically and mentally," Williams said. "While it did give me the opportunity to mature and to acclimate to the system with no pressure, there's simply no substitute for being out there experiencing what it's like to actually play in the NFL."
Williams' first impression Sunday was that each play progressed much faster than he had expected it to.
"You look at the film, and it looks just about the same as practice speed," he described. "That's deceptive. Things go at an entirely different level during a game, and I think the fact that this was a nationally-televised contest also had an effect. It seemed that everybody was much more intense out there."
Williams was relieved to find that his agility and conditioning were sound, but he noticed immediately that the mental aspect or his game fell short.
"I knew immediately that this is what would require some additional work before the next game," he admitted.
LB Jamar Williams
Donald Miralle/Getty Images
"Reps in practice should help a lot," Williams said. "All rookies think too much. Any coach will tell you that. And by now the guys I joined the team with are all beyond that stage of things. I need to catch up. The best way to do this, of course, is to play as much as possible during the week and also in game-day situations."
Whether or not Williams will be starting in place of Briggs against Detroit in Week 4 should be decided once the medical staff has made its evaluation. Briggs was listed as having sustained a groin injury, a problem that cornerback Nathan Vasher also incurred.
"I'm sure I'll hear a lot more about this [Monday] during our team meeting," Williams said. "I'm not planning on being a starter until I hear for sure whether or not Lance will be able to play next week against Detroit. I do suspect that I'll be put in more during practice."
What he hopes to accomplish this week is to be fully prepared to go against Detroit's offense should the need arise.
"I don't want any surprises," he said. "I play best when I am relaxed and completely prepared."
And what about tonight's outing against Dallas?
"It was simply a matter of a good quarterback and a number of very viable receivers and running backs," Williams said. "Nothing happened that I hadn't expected, but it turned out that [Dallas QB Tony] Romo was extremely effective on almost every play. It's difficult to defend against that. My main problem was that I was very nervous. That was a real distraction. I didn't achieve what I'd hoped to."
But with Rex Grossman's passer rating of 27.5 and the Bears' total of 239 yards on offense, it may well be up to Williams and the rest of the defense to keep the team in the next game.
"I don't see it that way at all," Williams disagreed. "This is an effort on both sides of the ball. Our offense is good. They're strong. We'll do our job, and I'm sure they will do theirs next Sunday."
When asked if the extended time that the defense was on the field this week contributed to the loss, Williams disagreed once again.
"The problem was mental,not physical," he said. "We weren't tired at all. We're in good enough shape to be out there as long as necessary in every game. If we are completely focused on each play next week, things should go well. We know the strengths that we have, and we have confidence in the level of our individual abilities. It's just a matter of coordinating an approach for the next game. It's an overall positive attitude as well as a concentrated physical effort."
Beth Gorr has been covering the Chicago Bears for seven years and is the Author of Bear Memories: The Chicago-Green Bay Rivalry. She is currently working on a second book about early Bears history.