With the fifth seed already locked up regardless of the outcome, Brandon Staley decided to play most of the starters in the LA Chargers' Week 18 game against the Denver Broncos. Not only did the starters play, but they played a meaningful number of snaps in a game that was rather meaningless.
When you play like fire like this you are going to get burned and that is what happened to Staley and the Chargers. Mike Williams, who might be the most important offensive player not named Justin Herbert, hurt his back and had to leave the game early.
Williams has not practiced all week for the Chargers and was given an official injury designation of questionable for Saturday's Wild Card Round matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. While it might seem on the surface that Williams definitely won't play, it appears that there is a method to the team's madness.
Mike Williams will be a game-time decision for the Chargers.
What Brandon Staley is essentially saying here is that Mike Williams did not need the practice reps this week to be ready against the Jaguars and instead needed to rest his back. While this does not guarantee anything, this is a very positive thing for Staley to say.
This makes it seem like the Bolts are simply allowing Williams to rest this week that way he can be as close to 100% as possible. Then, when Saturday rolls around, the team will be able to give Williams some painkillers for any back pain so he can suit up and go out there.
After the game against the Broncos, Staley did say that Williams could have returned. Granted, he ended up being carted to the locker room so that may not have been the case but there is obviously some sort of optimism about this injury and Williams' recovery time.
Getting Williams back in some capacity in this game is huge for the Chargers. He might not be able to play his normal number of snaps but if he can come in during key third down and red-zone situations then that will make a massive difference.
Without Williams, we could see the same frustrating, stagnant Chargers offense that we have seen in the past. That is not going to be good enough to beat this Jacksonville team.