D.J. Williams makes impact vs. Chargers

Although their expected playing time for Sunday had been described as "uncertain," Broncos defensive end Elvis Dumervil and linebacker D.J. Williams didn't just get their feet wet in the Broncos' victory over San Diego.

The pair all but face-planted Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers in the turf.

"We have a lot of energy out there and we're having fun," Dumervil said of the Broncos' defense. "There's so many guys contributing. We felt like the whole game on defense, we were going to do the job."

Broncos coaches had said during the week they didn't know how many snaps Dumervil or Williams would get. After all, Dumervil had sprained his left shoulder the previous weekend in the victory at Carolina and sat out the final 2 ½ quarters of that game.

And Williams, everybody figured, would have to knock off a thick layer of rust, having sat out the first nine games because of two NFL suspensions.
As it turned out, both played a pivotal role in forcing Rivers into a frustrating afternoon.

Dumervil, whose availability for Sunday's game had been listed as "questionable," was in the opening lineup and did not look the worse for wear. He recorded six tackles (tied for third most on the team), a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and a sack.

"I've been in situations before where I had to play with pain," Dumervil said. "I don't like it. But you got to go. The team needs me, and I'm going to do whatever I can to help the team."

Dumervil's sack and forced fumble came on the final play of the game and prevented Rivers from attempting any kind of "Hail Mary" pass, with the Chargers down by a touchdown.

"There's so many guys contributing," Dumervil said. "We felt like the whole game on defense, we were going to do the job."

Williams entered the lineup on the game's fourth snap and immediately became part of the regular rotation. He finished with four tackles and a tackle for loss.
"I thought D.J. had a great week of preparation," Broncos coach John Fox said. "The guy obviously worked diligently while he was away from us."

If Williams felt rusty at all, it couldn't have been evident to the Chargers. A former University of Miami star, Williams spent the early part of the season working out in South Florida. Then, a few weeks before his suspension was lifted, he moved back to Denver to adjust to altitude.

"I have to credit my conditioning — the strength and conditioning coaches here," Williams said. "They helped keep me focused."

Often, Williams and his former backup, Wesley Woodyard, were in the lineup together. For the past few years, both played weakside linebacker, but it came as no surprise that the Broncos found a way to have them in the lineup at the same time.

Woodyard tops the Broncos in tackles (85), including eight on Sunday.

"We played together, and it was great," Woodyard said of Williams. "D.J. went out there and made some plays. That's what it's all about. A team needs to put the best players in the best places to make plays."

Nose tackle Kevin Vickerson said the Broncos' defense is developing an identity.

"We're playing fast," Vickerson said. "Everybody is playing together and playing fast. And everybody is being accountable to the guy next to him. I think that's been a major reason we're playing so well."

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