49ers' Williams: 'One of those things ... football happens'

49ers' Williams: 'One of those things ... football happens'
January 23, 2012, 5:15 am
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SAN FRANCISCO -- Kyle Williams had returned all of two punts for the 49ers this season. Punt return duties, after all, were the domain of Ted Ginn.But with Ginn out after suffering a knee injury in last week's playoff victory over New Orleans, Williams was forced into service in the NFC championship game.And Williams lost two fumbles, including the back-breaking turnover with 9:32 to play in overtime at the San Francisco 24-yard line when Jacquian Williams stripped him of the ball and Devin Thomas recovered it. Five snaps later, Lawrence Tynes converted a 31-yard field goal to send the New York Giants to the Super Bowl against New England and the 49ers home."It was just one of those situations where I caught the ball, tried to hit it up field, tried to make a play and it ended up for the worst," a soft-spoken Williams said in a somber 49ers locker room.RATTO: Fair or not, Williams cast as 49ers villain
And the rainy weather?"I think everybody handled the weather OK," he said. "I don't know if that play was because of that or not. It was just one of those situations where the guy made a play. He caught me slipping and, you know, got the ball out."Earlier, in the fourth quarter, Williams muffed a Steve Weatherford punt, the ball glancing off his knee as he crept too close to it. Initially, it was called down, but replays showed it had indeed touched Williams, and the Giants had the ball at the 49ers 29-yard line after an alert Thomas recovered it.Five plays later, Eli Manning hit Mario Manningham for a 17-yard touchdown.Williams' two turnovers resulted in 10 points for the Giants. Not that his teammates were laying the blame at his feet. At least, not publicly."We're all a team," said defensive tackle Justin Smith. "We win together, we lose together, so that's how we do that."Quarterback Alex Smith was at a loss at what to say to Williams."What can you say?" Smith said with a shrug. "Obviously, we all know how committed he is, how much he wants to win, what part of this team he is, so it's not on him."And for that, Williams was thankful."You know, everybody in here -- it shows the resolve of this team -- everybody in here's come to me and told me to keep my head up, told me that's not on me, and we'll move forward," Williams said. "But it's just one of those things you hate to be the last guy to have the ball and to give it up that way, in that fashion, and to lose a game of this magnitude but it is what it is and we're going to move forward as a team and everybody in here has come to my back and kind of got me and patted me on the shoulder and said, it's not on you. So I couldn't be happier with my teammates."So what about being uncomfortable, given his relative inexperience returning punts this season?"(I felt) very comfortable," he said. "It wasn't any situation where I felt out of place and I think, throughout the game I showed that. It's just one of those things, man, football happens."

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