Williams streaks past Browns

BALTIMORE -- There was little concern about quarterback Kyle Boller overthrowing Baltimore Ravens rookie wide receiver Demetrius Williams on a deep fly pattern. Regarded as the sleeper of the Ravens' draft, the lanky fourth-round draft pick from Oregon sports acceleration in his game along with a collection of crisp routes that belies his age.

Williams demonstrated both qualties in scorching the Cleveland Browns secondary for a 77-yard touchdown pass during the Ravens' 27-17 victory Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium. The third-quarter touchdown broke a 17-17 deadlock, clinching the game for Baltimore.

"I just wanted to throw it up there nice and high for him, let him run underneath it," Boller said. "He made a great play."

Not only was it the longest pass of Boller's career and the longest reception of Williams' first season in the league, it was his first NFL touchdown. And he wasn't letting go of the football afterward, with plans of placing it in a special place of honor at his home.

"It was basically a read play, and I made the read to go to the middle of the field," said Williams, who registered two receptions for 100 yards. "Kyle just made a great throw and you couldn't have put the ball anywhere else, so I had the obligation to catch the ball."

Williams caught the ball in stride, cut to his left and avoided being tackled by diving into the end zone.

"I was actually kind of tired at the end of that," Williams said. "I just do whatever I can possibly, do, and I just ran like I was running for it all."

This wasn't the first time Williams has delivered in the clutch for the Ravens. He caught a 33-yard pass on 3rd-and-6 from Steve McNair at the Ravens' 18-yard line in last week's 20-10 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs to keep alive a nine-minute drive capped by a touchdown.

Plus, he caught a critical pass for a first down in a win over the Tennessee Titans to set up McNair's game-winning touchdown pass to Derrick Mason.

"Every time he gets an opportunity, that young man makes a play," Ravens coach Brian Billick said. "You can't ask more of a rookie."

Williams also showed the alertness to go after suspect Browns cornerback Daven Holly, who's only playing because of a season-ending injury to former Ravens defensive back Gary Baxter.

"It was a little bit of the game plan," Williams said. "We saw the guy out there who hadn't played as much and as an offensive tactic, you are the weakest link."

Despite operating behind Mason and Mark Clayton as the Ravens' third wide receiver and acting as essentially the fourth passing option most of the time because of two-time Pro Bowl tight end Todd Heap's presence, Williams has had a strong first season.

He has 18 catches for 336 yards and a team-high average of 18.7 yards per reception.

"It's starting to pick up a little bit for me, and I'm getting a little more comfortable with the game," Williams said. "Having receivers out there like Mason and Mark Clayton, guys you can count on, it makes it a lot easier for me."

Aaron Wilson covers the Baltimore Ravens for the Carroll County Times in Westminster, Maryland.

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