KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Kansas City Chiefs played well on defense but also took their lumps against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday.
An injury to starting cornerback Rashad Fenton pushed fourth-round rookie cornerback Joshua Williams into a critical role on Sunday, facing two of the best wide receivers in the NFL in Stefon Diggs and Gabe Davis.
He was bested by both of them as Diggs and Davis both caught touchdowns in his coverage.
Despite these touchdowns coming on a big stage, Williams is still confident after his first game with significant NFL action.
“All the coaches, my teammates, the (defensive back) crew keep me in good spirits. I don’t feel defeated,” Williams said.
“I know at the end of the day I’m going to get better from this. I’m going to be a fantastic player regardless of what people think. I’m just going to keep going, keep working, keep getting better.”
In total, Williams allowed five catches — all first downs — on seven targets for 93 yards and two touchdowns.
It’s not all on the rookies though.
Bills quarterback Josh Allen played extremely well all game, passing for 329 yards and three touchdowns — bolstering his claim as one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.
Willimas and seventh-round rookie Jaylen Watson have both been called upon to play in the absence of Fenton and first-round rookie corner Trent McDuffie, who is out due to a hamstring injury. Watson has had a solid start to his NFL career.
Chiefs coaches and players have said the team is confident in young players if they are getting significant snaps on the field.
A few rocky performances at the start of their rookie seasons won’t make their trust waver.
“We had some nicks and bruises, and guys stepped up like that. He kept coming after it, and he’ll be better off for that down the road – we’ll be better off down the road,” head coach Andy Reid said about Williams’ resilience throughout the game.
“I think that those guys got to see the speed of the game and to see what a playoff game would feel like and know that they deserve to be where they’re at right now,” safety Justin Reid said.
“And that they can hold up and play good ball. So, like I said, no moral victories but still a lot that we can build off of that.”
“Us as vets we kind of already believe in those guys. I just feel like this game gave them more confidence,” linebacker Nick Bolton said.
“We got a long way to go so just them building confidence and them keep going and keep believing in themselves is going to be huge down the stretch.”
As the defense gets linebacker Willie Gay back from suspension and may get McDuffie back from injury, they will look to those young players back up to speed as they prepare for a road trip to the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.