Williams' triple crowns win

September 20, 1993|By Ken Murray | Ken Murray,Staff Writer

PHILADELPHIA -- When Calvin Williams found his way to the Veterans Stadium end zone for the third time yesterday, there was no holding him back.

There was his traditional spike, which caromed uncomfortably close to an official.

There were the ceremonial hugs and high-fives with his fellow Philadelphia Eagles.

And then there was the improvisational flight of fancy. That was where he took off running from the end zone, as if on a wing, soaring in front of 65,435 zealots. He came to rest at the Eagles' 47-yard line, stretched his arms outward with palms up and soaked in the outrageous moment.

Clearly, in Week 3, Williams could go anywhere on the Vet carpet he wanted.

On a day when the Washington Redskins offered an 85-yard run and a daring fake punt, it was the 26-year-old Baltimore native who had the last word in the Eagles' raucous 34-31 victory.

It was touchdown, times three.

The Eagles stayed unbeaten at 3-0 because Williams, a Dunbar graduate, became their go-to guy as the Redskins held Fred Barnett to a quiet, four-catch game.

"We've got two great receivers on our football team," Eagles coach Rich Kotite said, and nobody was about to argue.

Williams caught eight passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns, all career highs. In a game of big plays, he always had an Eagles retort.

In the second quarter, it was an 80-yard touchdown play on a short pass from Randall Cunningham after the Redskins had forged a 14-3 lead.

In the fourth quarter, it was a diving, 9-yard touchdown grab that earned a 24-24 tie.

And in the game's waning moments, he pulled down a 10-yard bullet from Cunningham that overturned Washington's 31-27 lead for good.

"When they overload the coverage on my side," Barnett said, "we've got a receiver on the other side. Today, Calvin showed his stuff. He's a great receiver."

Williams said he'd never had a better game anywhere.

"I had a three-touchdown game in college [at Purdue], but not as many yards," he said.

Until yesterday, Williams had had a quiet season (four catches for 23 yards). But when the Redskins put cornerback Darrell Green on Barnett and set up in a two-man deep zone, it opened the door across the middle for Williams.

"They blitzed a lot with a zone concept behind it, leaving the middle open," he said. "The first touchdown was a designed play. We caught them in a blitz."

Williams shed A. J. Johnson easily, then stared at acres of open field.

"I thought, 'Don't let Darrell Green catch you,' " Williams said. "I remembered when he walked Eric Dickerson down [catching him from behind]. I looked back to see where he was."

Williams was relieved to see Green nowhere in sight. Eighty yards, six points.

The last two scores were not as easy. Both came on audibles. He beat Johnson again on the tying touchdown early in the fourth quarter.

Then, on the Eagles' winning, 83-yard touchdown drive, he was unstoppable, with four catches for 64 yards.

That was when Cunningham and Williams were at their best, when the Eagles' two-minute offense needed just 1:50 to score.

Starting at the Eagles' 17 with 1:54 left, Cunningham took over the game.

"In the huddle, I basically said, 'We're going to score,' " Cunningham said. 'I said, 'Don't you love a situation like this? It's our turn.' "

Cunningham hit Williams for 12 yards, Herschel Walker for 7 and Williams again for 24. That put the Eagles in Washington territory at the 40.

Three plays later, on third-and-one, Cunningham audibled out of a run play to a short pass to Barnett. It went for 2 yards and a first down at the 29.

After Cunningham killed the clock at 23 seconds, it was all Williams. On second down, he ran a short slant pattern to the 10, a gain of 19. With 14 seconds left, Cunningham threw slightly behind Williams -- and the ball sailed off his fingertips -- at the goal line.

With 10 seconds left at the 10, Cunningham had enough protection to run through a whole tree of pass routes. He looked at Barnett on the left side to draw the safety up. He looked for tight end Mark Bavaro on a hook in the end zone. He looked for James Joseph on a slant.

And then, six seconds after the play started, he found Williams crossing in the back of the end zone, trailed by Tom Carter.

"I had to throw over [Kurt] Gouveia's head, so I threw high," Cunningham said. "I knew we had one more play if Calvin couldn't get it."

Williams got it, and the Eagles roll into their bye week with a share of the NFC East lead with the New York Giants.

"This is a very mature club," Williams said. "We showed that the last two weeks. I don't want to have to win like that every week, though. That'd be tough to do."

Tough, but not impossible, as yesterday proved.

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