Detroit Lions Jamaal Williams ties Barry Sanders team touchdown record

Detroit Lions Jamaal Williams ties Barry Sanders team touchdown record

Running back Jamaal Williams has put together a historic season for the Detroit Lions.

The sixth-year veteran has been a reliable option for Lions head coach Dan Campbell and company all season in the red zone. With his touchdown Sunday, Williams raced his way into a tie with legendary running back Barry Sanders for most rushing scores in a single season.

Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, set the record with 16 touchdowns during the 1991 season. Williams tied it Sunday against the Green Bay Packers. 

It has been a breakthrough campaign for Williams, who had never scored more than four touchdowns in a season. After reaching the end zone four times as a rookie with the Green Bay Packers, the BYU product had been held under that total until 2022.

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Williams had been on a historic pace throughout this season, as he joined Sanders, Billy Sims and James Stewart as the only Lions running backs to log double-digit touchdowns in a season.

“I’m just grateful to be mentioned in the group with those types of players, and just how great they were in their careers,” Williams told reporters earlier in the season. “I’m just trying to be the best in my career. I’m just grateful to be in a special group like that.”

The 27-year-old has been a key piece of the offense, while fellow running back D’Andre Swift has struggled with injuries. With Williams finding the end zone in Detroit’s regular season finale in Green Bay, it marks the 10th time this season in which he’s scored at least one touchdown. 

The run game — plus Williams’ role in it — has been pivotal, as the offense has improved in Jared Goff’s second year at quarterback.

“He’s our horse,” Goff said. “Anytime we get down there, tight in the red zone, it feels automatic with him at times. As a quarterback, sometimes you want to throw them in. But, you know, Jamaal is automatic, and I certainly have no upsetness about scoring touchdowns with him like that.”

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