Broncos catch Williams, Eagles at the wrong time Dunbar grad's 2 TDs highlight 30-0 romp

September 21, 1992|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- The first touchdown was for his mother. The second was for the highlight film.

Calvin Williams, a third-year wide receiver with the Philadelphia Eagles, resurfaced in Randall Cunningham's passing offense in a big way yesterday.

The Baltimore native caught five passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns, including a scintillating 49-yard scamper, to help the unbeaten Eagles rout the Denver Broncos, 30-0, before 65,833 at Veterans Stadium.

"I felt like I was kind of overdue," Williams said in the glow of his first 100-yard receiving game in the NFL.

Williams' yardage and touchdown totals represented career highs. The 49-yard gain was also the longest of his career.

On a day when everything went right for the 3-0 Eagles -- they held Denver quarterback John Elway to 59 yards passing and pushed the Broncos defense all over the field -- Williams' performance was something of a bonus.

Two years ago he caught a franchise rookie-record nine touchdown passes. But last season he missed four games with a knee injury and finished with three touchdown catches.

He already has three scores this year and is well on his way toward teaming with Fred Barnett to give the Eagles one of the NFL's better receiving duos.

Barnett pulled in five passes for 102 yards and one touchdown yesterday, and quickly let reporters know that any comparisons to, say, the San Francisco 49ers' Jerry Rice and John Taylor were not necessarily appreciated.

"This is a Barnett-Williams thing," said Barnett, who joined the Eagles with Williams in 1990. "Leave Rice and Taylor out of it."

"We're still a couple of young receivers in the league," said Williams, who graduated from Dunbar High before attending Purdue. "We've still got a lot to prove. I don't think we're up there with Taylor and Rice."

Williams got the Eagles offense rolling in the second quarter when he caught a 24-yard touchdown pass from Cunningham on a post pattern.

No sooner had he caught the ball in the end zone than he immediately pointed up into the stands. As it turned out, he was sharing the moment with his mother, Josephine Williams.

"I knew she was up there when I scored in that part of the end zone," Williams said. "I looked for her right away."

The Eagles had come into the game expecting to throw often against a Denver defense that committed heavily to playing the run.

"We felt offensively we would have to throw the ball because of the way they force their safeties and linebackers," said Eagles coach Rich Kotite.

NB So Cunningham resorted to play-action passes that brought Den

ver's safeties to the line of scrimmage and freed Williams and Barnett on crossing routes through the vacated middle of the field.

If Williams' first touchdown was one for the heart, the second was an exhilarating clip of highlight film. He caught a pass in full stride at the Denver 38 and pulled away from cornerback Le-Lo Lang in an impressive sprint to the goal line.

Barnett and Williams are the best of friends, and they revel in each other's successes.

"It's like the first year when he had nine touchdowns and I had eight," Barnett said. "We're back on track, and everything's going for us now. We work hard together."

As good a day as Williams had, it might have been even better. He was wide open when Herschel Walker took a handoff and pitched the ball back to Cunningham in the second quarter. Denver cornerback Wymon Henderson came up to play the run, leaving Williams uncovered.

But Cunningham was hurried on the play and didn't see Williams. He threw incomplete to Barnett on the other side of the field instead. On the next play Cunningham threw a 34-yard touchdown pass to Barnett.

Nobody appreciates Williams and Barnett more than Cunningham.

"My job is easier with those two, because I know where they're going to be," said Cunningham, who most likely held the lead in the NFL's passer ratings with an 18-for-25 performance that netted 270 yards.

"During the week, I sit in between them and watch films with them and talk about things that we can do. The [communication] we have has helped us get better. They are great players."

Yesterday, the Eagles looked like a Super Bowl-caliber team, holding the Broncos to four first downs and 82 net yards on offense with a nearly flawless defensive game.

It was reminiscent of Philadelphia's 24-0 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in Week 3 a year ago, when the Eagles registered 11 sacks. That was their last shutout.

"We're 3-and-0, but we've got a long way to go," Kotite said. "I don't want to crown anybody yet."

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