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Maxx Williams Has Best Game For Cardinals Tight End in 32 Years

Notes: Isaiah Simmons ready to face college teammate Trevor Lawrence

Tight end Maxx Williams rumbles upfield after a catch against the Vikings last week.
Tight end Maxx Williams rumbles upfield after a catch against the Vikings last week.

Down two touchdowns, the Cardinals needed a spark.

Kyler Murray looked to connect with Chase Edmonds over the middle on a short pass, except the ball was deflected off a Vikings defensive lineman's hands. And then another. And then Vikings linebacker Eric Kendricks grabbed for it and knocked it further downfield, in to the hands of tight end Maxx Williams.

"I was lucky to be at the right place at the right time for the deflection," Williams said. "I don't even know who deflected it or what happened on the play; I just saw the ball flying up in the air. And, I was like, 'Welp, an opportunity, might as well grab it and see what happens.' "

It meant more to coach Kliff Kingsbury, who said the 34-yard play "got us going."

"We thought we could work Maxx down the seams and across the middle," Kingsbury said. "And I thought that was a huge play in the game."

Williams had seven catches for 94 yards, single-game bests for him in his career, and rare numbers for a Cardinals tight end. It was the most receiving yards total for the team at this position since Rob Awalt had 105 in a game against the Cowboys all the way back in 1989. Since Awalt's game -- and before Williams -- the only Cardinal tight ends to even break 80 yards in a game were Charles Clay (at N.O. in 2019), Darren Fells (82 vs N.O. in 2015) and Rob Housler (82 vs. St. Louis in 2012) according to profootballreference.com.

If Williams stays healthy, the Cardinals passing attack -- which ranks third in the NFL -- has another weapon from the tight end position, an element the offense has lacked.

But Williams didn't want to talk about his performance -- or at least, whether he would be repeating it soon.

"I've said this since I've been here: tight ends can be problem solvers and do what they're asked to do," Williams said. "Just happened that my number was called."

SIMMONS GETS HIS CHANCE TO FACE LAWRENCE

As the Cardinals head to Jacksonville Sunday in a rare meeting between the teams, Isaiah Simmons will square off against Trevor Lawrence for the first time since their Clemson days. It's something the former teammates discussed earlier this season.

Simmons joked with the quarterback to throw him an interception and allow him to get a sack. It's the first time Simmons can touch the quarterback since he couldn't during practices at Clemson. The close friends have already talked "what ifs" if the pair ever faced one another; now it's a reality.

Simmons, the Cardinals 2020 first-round draft pick, said he was shocked with the lack of questions he received regarding a game plan to limit the 2021 No. 1 pick. But when asked how he would defend Lawrence, the linebacker wouldn't budge.

"I can't really say," Simmons said with a chuckle.

But when it comes to talent, especially when discussing defending the rookie's arm talent, Simmons didn't mince words.

"It's hard," Simmons said. "He can make all the throws. So, we're going to have to really cover, just because I personally know he can make any throw. He just has a really talented arm."

WILSON DOES NOT PRACTICE, KENNARD RETURNS

After suffering an ankle injury Sunday, Marco Wilson didn't practice Wednesday, and Kingsbury said it's too early to tell if he might be available Sunday.

Wide receiver A.J. Green (rest) was limited, as was linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring). Offensive lineman Kelvin Beachum (ribs), receiver DeAndre Hopkins (ribs), offensive lineman Rodney Hudson (Rest), linebacker Chandler Jones (rest), defensive lineman Corey Peters (rest) and offensive lineman Justin Pugh (Shoulder) also did not practice.

For the Jaguars, offensive lineman A.J. Cann (hamstring), cornerback C.J. Henderson (groin), cornerback Tre Herndon (knee), Roy Robertson-Harris defensive lineman (ankle) practiced on a limited basis. Offensive lineman Brandon Linder (back) and defensive tackle Jay Tufele (illness) did not practice.

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