Not only did Tampa Bay rookie rusher Carnell “Cadillac” Williams help his team’s playoff hopes with 112 rushing yards and two touchdowns in the Buccaneers’ 20-10 win at Carolina on Sunday, he bolstered his chances at winning the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year honors as well. Williams accounted for both of Tampa Bay’s TDs on runs of 14 and 10 yards, and is this week’s PewterReport.com Pewter Player of the Game as the Bucs improved to 9-4 on the season.
In addition to Williams becoming the first Tampa Bay rusher to eclipse the 100-yard mark against Carolina since the Panthers became the Bucs’ divisional rivals with the formation of the NFC South in 2002, it also marked the first time the Bucs rushed for 100 yards as a team against the Panthers since 1998.
Williams’ 100-yard game was his fifth of the season and ties the Buccaneers’ record set by Ricky Bell in 1979 and later tied by James Wilder in 1984 and ’85, and Warrick Dunn in 1997.
Seven of Williams’ 29 runs either picked up first downs or scored touchdowns against Carolina.
Williams leads the Buccaneers and all rookie rushers in the NFL with 223 carries for 924 yards and five touchdowns. He needs just 76 yards over the next three games to become just the second rookie in Tampa Bay history to rush for 1,000 yards. Williams also needs only 88 more yards to break Errict Rhett’s rookie rushing record of 1,011 yards, which was set in 1994.
Miami’s rookie running back, Ronnie Brown, is the only real threat to steal Rookie of the Year honors away from Williams at this point of the season. After his 11-carry, 30-yard performance on Sunday, Brown has just 841 rushing yards on 187 carries and four touchdowns for the Dolphins, whose losing records may ultimately cost him a chance at winning the award.
Brown does have an edge in total yards, however. Through 13 games, Brown has 28 catches for 208 yards and one touchdown, which gives him 1,049 total yards from scrimmage this season. Williams has just 16 catches for 67 yards and has 991 total yards in 2005. Both Williams and Brown, who were teammates at Auburn, have five total touchdowns.
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Scott Reynolds is in his 25th year of covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the vice president, publisher and senior Bucs beat writer for PewterReport.com. Author of the popular SR's Fab 5 column on Fridays, Reynolds oversees web development and forges marketing partnerships for PewterReport.com in addition to his editorial duties. A graduate of Kansas State University in 1995, Reynolds spent six years giving back to the community as the defensive line coach for his sons' Pop Warner team, the South Pasco Predators. Reynolds can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org