A frustrating season for maligned cornerback Cary Williams turned on one play Thursday night, as he stepped in front of a pass by Browns quarterback Brandon Weeden and returned the interception 63 yards for a touchdown, the biggest play of the Ravens 23-16 win over the Browns at M&T Bank Stadium on Thursday night.
Williams had been picked on by Patriots quarterback Tom Brady repeatedly in the Ravens 31-30 win over New England last week, as Brandon Lloyd, often covered by Williams, hauled in nine catches for 108 yards. It was the latest big game for a receiver against Williams, who seemed be viewed as the weak link in the tough Ravens secondary.
I knew if they kept messing with him that hed eventually come through, cornerback Lardarius Webb said. I work with him every day. Ive been working with him since training camp and I know what he got.
Dating to the preseason, a string of top-flight quarterbacks including Brady, Andy Dalton, Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan had seemingly looked to exploit matchups with Williams, the fifth-year veteran out of Washburn.
But when Weeden did that one too many times, Williams was ready.
The Browns were driving, trailing just 16-10 late in the third quarter. Facing third-and-5 at the Ravens 43-yard line, Weeden looked to throw to Travis Benjamin along the left sideline. Williams jumped the route, grabbed the ball in the rain and raced down the sideline untouched for the touchdown.
It was his first career interception, and the Ravens 39th defensive touchdown since 2003, the most in the league.
Im glad I was able to recognize the route and the formation, and I just went out there and made the play, he said.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said Williams was the difference in the game with the interception return touchdown.
Here is a guy who was under a lot of heat from you all, but he wasnt under heat in our building because we know what kind of player he is, and he comes up big. You have faith in your guys and you believe in your guys. I think he deserved that.