Kyle Williams takes heat from fans, not teammates

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Once it became clear that Ted Ginn wouldn’t be playing for the 49ers on Sunday, the return game landed in the hands of Kyle Williams, a San Jose native who arrived via round six of the 2010 draft.

And Williams wears the goat horns on Monday, via a muffed punt that bounced off his leg and a fumble while trying to make something happen on the home team’s second shot at the ball in overtime, or at a minimum to try to give the Niners an edge in the field-position chess match that was unfolding in the slog of the fifth quarter.  With the Giants’ second drive sputtering at their own 44 and Steve Weatherford’s punt landing in Williams’ hands at the San Fran 19, the boost from a good return could have helped the 49ers get in position for the game-winning boot.

But another Williams, Jacquian of the Giants, got his hand on the ball as Kyle tried to switch it to his left arm, and out it came.

Now, as chronicled by Jon Becker of via the disturbing new pop-up-book “storify” style, Kyle Williams is feeling the brunt of the blame from many fans, thanks to the instant access to athletes provided by Twitter.

His teammates have been kind and supportive, at least publicly.  “The game didn’t come down to Kyle Williams — it never did,” defensive lineman Ricky Jean Francois said, via Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News.  “We could’ve ended that game many times.”

He’s right.  In the end, the Niners were done in by the kind of breaks that they usually make.  And Ginn, who’ll be a free agent in March, suddenly has even greater value than ever to the 49ers.

93 responses to “Kyle Williams takes heat from fans, not teammates

  1. Niner fans are making me feel even more embarrassed. I guess we do deserve all the ridicule.
    Its just a game, not a matter of life and death.

  2. So we’re an evolved species? All the crap on the “social media” (I have other names for it) about Kyle Williams is just pathetic and proves we have a long way to go.

    Get your f***ing priorities straight people.

  3. that fumble happened with 9:38 seconds in OT. The niners had opportunities before that fumble to get the ball in field goal range to win and they didn’t. Yes the play obviously gave the game to the Giants in the end, but there was a lot of football before that.

  4. He’s lucky he didn’t lose the one he dove for earlier in the game. But if you can’t convert on 3rd down you can’t expect much production (this was the case for both teams) and he game can come down to plays like this.

  5. Kyle Williams is a Bum. He gave the game to the Giants. He was the Giants MVP. He better not be a 49ers next year. What a Bum. He was bought.

  6. The 49ers didnt lose because Kyle Williams lost a fumble, but Kyle Williams did lose the game for the 49ers. Thats the hard truth and it hurts. Since this kid wasnt a playmaker, this might be the only reason anyone knows his name for years to come.

  7. This is on Harbaugh.

    The kid had no business being back there in overtime. Despite the one nice return he had, he had clearly shown throughout the game that he was playing tight. (I believe he had at least one bad drop on offense, too)

    And this isn’t just hindsight. I told my friends at the start of overtime that if I were Harbaugh I would just rush 11 and take the ball wherever it stopped if the Giants punted.

  8. I know that Kyle Williams wasn’t the only reason the Niners lost, but he was a big part of it.
    I’ve come to terms with the fact that my team is going to resign the below average Alex Smith, but they have to make some serious changes to the WR’s.
    Cutting Kyle Williams would be a good start.

  9. The fumble in overtime is something that just happens sometimes. The fumble on the punt on regulation when the ball bounced and hit him was just not smart football and deserves criticism.

  10. to blame everything on one specific play or player in a 3 point game is ludicrous … Any play ending differently could have changed the game … Some fans are just plain stupid …

  11. No, im pretty sure they were done in by those 2 fumbles since it set them up for an easy td and field goal when they struggled to get there all night. Kyle Williams, the reason the niners arent in the superbowl is because of you. But gratz to the giants anways, it was a good game.

  12. The Niners were zero-for-third-down on the entire game (maybe they got a few late ones, but not nearly enough); there is plenty of blame to go around.

    Alex Smith throwing into the ground constantly, his receivers not getting open (or Smith couldn’t find them) there’s plenty of blame to go around on the offensive side of the ball. I think the D did alright – they certainly hit Manning plenty.

    Shoot, let’s talk about all the carries Gore di NOT get. What was up with that?

    It sucked and he didn’t win the game, but Williams shouldn’t shoulder all the blame for the loss either.

  13. Pretty sad how a small % of “fans” get such play in the media that it casts the entire fanbase is such a negative light.

    That said, it’s even sadder that police presence is required at such a high level because that small % can truly be dangerous to the rest.

    Aren’t “games” supposed to be “fun”?

    What’s saddest of all is the perps themselves won’t get hammered, and the lawmakers in this nanny-state will continue with their never-ending assault on the freedoms of the rest of us.

  14. Alex Smith not being able to convert third downs didn’t help much. The Giants were going to win eventually because the 49ers offense was stuck in park. O’fer on third down doesn’t win too many ball games.

    QB played worse down the stretch than the Returner – Williams. Though it is correct to say Williams gaffe’s directly attributed to the Giants getting their final 10 pts to win the game. The fumble in OT was worse than the knee. Protect the Ball! Carrying it carelessly like a loaf of bread. 49ers Defense deserved a better outcome.

  15. 49ers need to get WRs who can get separation. I’d even be for them signing a big name WR and drafting one round 1. They have over 30 mil cap room enough to not sign free agents and add a Colston or a VJax.

  16. it’s always the fans with no athletic ability whatsoever that are the first to rip apart a pro athlete when they make a mistake.

  17. .

    Sometimes a fair catch is a really good play . A good punt returner will average about 10 yds per return. Being new, bad conditions, having already fumbled it may have been a good idea not to try to advance the ball. It seemed the 49ers wagered the game ( risk) for a potential 10 yd. advance (reward).


  18. As for Williams yea I was pissed he lost those fumbles but the people threatening him and his family are awful human beings.

    But that behavior isn’t limited to 9ers. Everyone who has an error like that has received threats from the fanbase.

  19. the 49ers had many opportunities… the offense sucked.. take away Vernon Davis’ two long T.D’s and the offense was as inept as any i have seen.

  20. ‘He was bought.’


    So, was Alex Smith bought too or did he just suck? His ineptitude on 3rd down doomed them far more than the fumbles.

  21. If you put your team in a situation where one play like that can lose the game for you then you deserve it if it happens. Yes the kid handled that ball like a hot potato and could have secured it, but that’s football. She’s a cruel mistress.

  22. The threats and vulgarity are just disgusting. I hope the idiots who made death threats get a visit from the police. But, I have to admit, the guy who photoshopped an “I Love NY” T-shirt onto Williams picture has a pretty good sense of humor.

  23. I heard the Giants gave the game ball to Kyle Williams… but he fumbled it away after bouncing it off his knee.

  24. I don’t think there is any excuse for those kinds of comments. The people wishing for his family to die etc are scum. Pure and simple scum.
    Behavior like that shows why it was no surprise what happened to saints fans at the Frisco game.

    I guarantee you if Sproles had fumbled the ball like that he wouldn’t be receiving death threats.


  25. Great year 49ers. We, Niners fans, are proud of ALL of you.

    This is a young team who overacheived this year. This defense was nothing short of GREAT. Tough break for Kyle. Its a game and these things happen. Hope he can keep his head up and improve for next year.

    Couldn’t be more proud the be part of the 49er faithful. Im eating crow today.

    Good luck deserve to be there.


  26. This Super Bowl seems to ordained by God. Look at how both teams, Pats and Giants get into the SB. A missed chip shot field goal and muffed punt. Id rather be lucky then good is the war cry of both New England and New York.
    And dont believe for one min. that Ted Ginn isnt above fumbling. Ginn has hamster stones.

  27. hystoracle says:
    Jan 23, 2012 9:32 AM
    Alex Smith not being able to convert third downs didn’t help much

    Each time Smith was on the field on third down, there were 10 other 49’ers out there with him.

  28. I bet the bank that if one looked at Kyle Williams they would clearly see a player that cannot be coached because he refuses to beleive he did anything wrong.
    The ball clearly bounced off his leg, he knows it, every person on the planet watching the game knows it.
    The irony, when he caught the ball I said to my friends, watch him fumble it and give the game to the giants. Why did I know that.

    The guys mind was not in the game all day. He ran left and got tackled when he could have gone right up the sidelines. He constantly made mental mistakes but the cause of it was the head coach who had a very unprepared, poorly coached person out their fielding the ball in the rain.

    The coaching staff lost the game for the niners.

  29. It should never come down to blaming one guy because he makes a mistake. Had the defense stopped Manning from throwing 2 TD…not a question about Williams. Had the 49ers offense moved the ball in the 4th quarter and scored more points….question over. Leave the guy alone he feels bad enough. People were all over Brett against the Saints when in theory he kept bringing them back after all the fumbles because the defense couldn’t stop the saints….but he was the goat because of the INT. But vikings couldn’t stop Saints in OT. It was an unfortunate error on Williams part…but only 2 teams can go to the SB.

    How do you think the kicker from Baltimore feels….having to rush on the feel and missed the field goal. That was coaching error…Baltimore should have called a time out to give him time to get ready.

  30. Kyle Williams wouldn’t have had that second punt stripped if the game hadn’t gone into overtime in the first place. The 49ers had so many chances to score during regulation, but the offense consistently sputtered. There is plenty of blame to go around. Williams deserves some of it, but let’s not pretend like the 49ers otherwise dominated the game and that only divine intervention kept them out of the Super Bowl. Some 49ers fans need perspective.

  31. Scumbag fans putting a black eye on an otherwise great city.

    I also found it a little distasteful that they would cheer/boo during the national anthem depending on whether a 49er or Giant was on the big screen. For those 2-3 minutes we’re all united as Americans, and I don’t care to hear any boos from anyone.

  32. Go ahead, blame Williams, pay no attention to the fact that the offense didn’t convert a 3rd down all game.

  33. 1 – 13 on 3rd.

    Smith completed 12 passes in an overtime game.

    You think a fumble is why you lost?

    Hope you had fun at the dance SF, cause you ain’t comin back. Not with this team. Your division will be better next year and your schedule will be harder. Games against the Pats, Saints, Bears, Lions,
    Jets, Dolphins, Bills…

    Not to mention the GIANTS. Have fun back at 6-10.

  34. Not fair to blame this kid for the L – not at all.

    He’s the backup, with the balls to actually go into the game during a crucial moment – when only very few things can go right.

    Blame 3rd down efficiency for the loss, that is where Eli prevailed and won the game.

  35. Funny how people are so tough over social mediums like twitter and facebook yet if they were to run into that person somewhere they would have nothing but nice things to say…you can’t entirely blame the game on this kid the 49ers had every chance in the world to move the chains and didn’t and alex smith did nothing with the ball outside of the two tds to davis…and i know a few fans don’t reflect the feelings of the entire fan base but threatening his wife and kids? people like that should be knocked out

  36. Let’s be honest the Niner’s were in the position they were in because of the turnovers this season. What’s the old saying, you live by the sword (turnovers)and you die by the sword (turnovers).

  37. Williams had three bad play’s the reverse in the back field when he dropped the ball but was recovered by the 49’s. Then the punt that hit him,
    and the fumble. The reverse could have gone the other way. I would say he had a bad day. You see they never thought they would lose. The teams that we think will get in never due. It is always that way just think about it. The Packers thought they were in Giants never did. Same with the Saints thought they were in and that game came down to the last 139 seconds and so did this game. San Fran needs to have more control of there players.

  38. As a Niners fan I looks back at 6 plays in this game that turned the tide, some unlucky, some unfortunate and one a bad call imo.

    1. Goldson breaks up an INT and knocks Brown #2 CB out of the game. It happens, the injury was unfortunate and unlucky.

    2. Manningham scores a TD on our # 5 CB just entering the game for Brown.

    3. Kyle Williams makes a bone head play and muffs a punt. It happens, but not smart.

    4. Goldson breaks up another easy INT hitting Carlos Rodgers. This is where I felt fate was siding with NY. Unfortunate the balls were thrown so poorly we had two defenders that could pick it getting there before the WR.

    5. Bowman strips the ball immediately and the refs call forward progress. Technically the right call but I have NEVER seen the whistle blow that quick in over 60 full games I watched this season.

    6. Obviously Kyle fumbling again.

    This one was not meant to be tonight. It was a hard fought effort. The Giants caught a few breaks and played a solid game. This just wasn’t the 49ers day.

    Niners had a great turn around season and it’s nice to have a real team to cheer for for the first time in almost a decade.

    Kyle don’t hang your head, you’re a good young player and and have worked hard for where you are today. You may never make it up for us in the future but mistakes are made.

    Good luck to the the Giants, let’s notch another SB for the NFC.

  39. Sick to my stomach. Still in disbelief that the season ended that way. Too many missed opportunities throughout the game. We had a good chance to advance and could not take advantage while the Giants did.

    Congrats Giants.

    Thanks Niners for an unbelievable season that no one predicted or expected. Meaningful football in December/January was great to experience again. Looking forward to the maturation of this team for years to come…haven’t been able to say that for almost a decade.

  40. Did anyone else notice the 49er fans consistently cheering “CRUUUUUUUZ” and booing during the national anthem?

    Real classy folks.

  41. The kid had a tough day. A similar situation took place in the AFC game, and Ray Lewis said after, “You win and lose as a team”. That’s leadership and class.

  42. The fault is ultimately with Harbaugh. Fielding punts is a specific skill, you can’t just trot a WR out there and tell him to handle it. If you don’t have a back-up coached up and ready to go, then you deserve whatever you get.

    In this case, Harbaugh got a missed opportunity to go to the Superbowl. You don’t get too many of those opportunities in a lifetime, so you need to be ready.

  43. A sad ending for the surprise 49’ers but let’s face it, it’s a team game and the team, not Kyle Williams, lost the game. Failing to convert a single third down into a first down was a glaring offensive team failure. Too many running plays called by Harbaugh also spelled the Niner’s doom.

    Yes Kyle Williams will be the most obvious player to blame for muffing two punts that led to the Giants scoring 10 points. However any fan who issues death threats over a simple damned game should be found, tried and hanged! Yeah I’m miffed at Williams but I realize that he was a young player put into a tough position and he didn’t know the basics of staying away from punts he wouldn’t catch or keeping two hands on the ball. That’s bad coaching.

    The loss was a team loss and we 49’er fans have to blame the whole team for not performing up to their abilities. The defense did it’s job, it was the offense that just did not perform as it should and special teams certainly weren’t special. Give Williams a break and don’t blame him for the whole team’s failure.

  44. Sure you can blame a lot of things in that game for the niner loss. The one that struck me was (not) seeing Crabgreed all game. The guy disappeared like the sunshine yesterday.

  45. Three yards of production from the WR corps, and Niner fans want to blame Williams?

    How about blaming the coach who put your #2 WR on IR by throwing the ball on a 4th-and-2 play with a 41-3 fourth-quarter lead?

    If Josh Morgan is around to make one play on a third down, this game may go the other way. But he wasn’t because his coach got him hurt while trying to pad stats in garbage time.

    Someone needs to ask that coach what his deal is.

  46. the special teams coach is to blame, or jim harbaugh-who ever tells the returner what to do before the putn.

    he already had fumbled once in the game. in overtime, you tell that guy, fair catch or let it go. NO RETURN, because you’re a young guy who will try to do too much!

  47. realitypolice says: Jan 23, 2012 9:24 AM

    This is on Harbaugh.

    The kid had no business being back there in overtime. Despite the one nice return he had, he had clearly shown throughout the game that he was playing tight. (I believe he had at least one bad drop on offense, too)

    And this isn’t just hindsight. I told my friends at the start of overtime that if I were Harbaugh I would just rush 11 and take the ball wherever it stopped if the Giants punted.


    I agree 100%. This was a common theme throughout the game. He fumbled the reverse that cost us 10 yards and you could tell he was returning/fielding punts scared. He let one go that kept bouncing and cost a ton of field position, another he almost missed and had to dive to catch, one return he slipped and fell untouched with a lot of room to run, and then another he fair caught with nobody within 15 yards. He was killing us all game. Even before the one that went off his leg, I was saying what you just said … why are they even bothering. He’s clearly more likely to make a mistake than to get a big return. If there’s no-one else that can do the job, fine, then just go for the block!! Horrible decisions, and even worse performance from Williams.

  48. Kyle Williams did not lose the game for the 49ers….1 for 13 on third down lost the game. Pathetic display.

  49. When the offense cant convert a third down (the one they got was at the end of regulation when Giants were in prevent)… you cant blame the return man.

    How about his 40 yard return that set up the 49ers in fantastic field position?

  50. He shouldn’t have been there returning punts in overtime. This guy already muffed a punt and fumbled an end-around earlier in the game. Harbaugh has been a great coach this season and will probably win the coach of the year award but it was definitely a mistake to keep the guy out there, Belichick and Coughlin would have benched the guy long before overtime started. It’s good to show confidence in your players but when you’re playing for a championship you have to minimize as many potential mistakes as possible.

  51. You guys are morons if you think Williams is getting anything more then cundiff is from Baltimore. All sports fans become classless, from new England to new York to Chicago to San Fran. Only a few are educated enough to realize this especially on this board.

    It wasn’t Williams fault they lost, give me a mill a year/the fame and feel free to heckle me via twitter all you want.

    Fan = fanatic, this board = high school educated people.

  52. is there any “fan” base worse than SF? How much more evidence do we need?

    Supporting (and cheering) an owner who was convicted of mafia “involvement”… near riots in the stands… sh**tings in the parking lot…. visiting fan harassment and intimidation… now this?

    What’s better is when ‘whiner fans come on here and say this happens everywhere and they’re no different than any other stadium experience. Really? Really? REALLY?

    You don’t even deserve an NFL franchise. Even one as pathetic as this one.

    Go home and SHUT UP!!

  53. This all on Harbaugh! Giants were havingsimilar problems with their punt returns earlier this year. So they picked up Blackmon a sure handed punt returner and even used Aaron Ross another sure handed player back there yesterday as well as Blackmon. The difference in this game was the punt return game. If you remember the Giants first punt of the 3rd quarter yesterday? Williams dove and barely caught nearly fumbled a low punt near the sidelines with a Giants player right next to him. No veteran punt returner would have even tried to field that punt.It is all on Harbaugh for not using a punt returner whose main goal was ball security in a game like this.

  54. The Offense lost this game. They were more consistent at being terrible than being good. When you only convert 1 of 13 third downs, you haven’t made a case for being the best team to go to the Super Bowl. What happened to Williams could have happened to anyone.

  55. i see everyone bashing the kid, but what about alex smith??? his last couple of series were awful!!! and where was crabtree???? did he even play??? alex smith was 16-26 178 yards passing. those are tebow numbers! this team lacks explosive plays on the outside, which was probably the difference in the game! niners have to get some help on the outside if they wanna take that next step!!

  56. If Williams does not bring the ball out to the 50 on the previous return. When the NINERS were down 17-14. The game does not go to overtime. If that was a normal return or touchback there is no way Alex Smith gets the ball in field goal range. Smith completed his first pass to a WR with 5:26 left to Crabtree for 2 yards. TWO YARDS. So NINER fans wanna place blame and point a finger. ALEX SMITH IS THE REASON YOU LOST.



    oh and on the road in NEW ORLEANS…

    have fun back at 6-10

  57. Niner fans are terrible, first really have not supported the team properly in the last ten years for a team that has won five Superbowl’s. I live in Sacramento and they are such fair weather fans. I had a couple of my 49er buddies blaming the loss on Smith too. I am just glad I don’t have to see those ugly Gold Starter Jackets from the 80’s. Those will go right back in the closet for the next 20 years. Just a bunch of bandwagon fans!

  58. Kyle is a good kid who will continue to fight his way up the roster. He stood tall at his locker last night taking all of the heat like a man. You have to respect that. He made huge mistakes, but the blame needs to be spread around. The Giants just had a little bit more in their tank and they deserve this win. Congrats to them.

    The real problem was the offense: 4 3-and-outs to end the game. I was pretty sure we had no recievers on the field. The 9ers desperately need a true #1. The 9ers hid their ofefnse all year and last night they just couldn’t overcome it with the special teams mishaps.

    9er fans – we are much better than sending a guy threats on Twitter. There will be other years! This is a part of sport, you don’t win all of time, our guys won’t be perfect all of the time. The 9ers will be a good team for years to come so stand proud and keep your head up even if you’re still down about the game.

  59. Live by the turnover, die by the turnover.

    The 49ers were the NFLs worst at 3rd down conversions and red zone offense, but they got to the doorstep of the Super Bowl with a fantastic turnover ratio.

    There’s a short shelf life for Harbaugh’s schtick and I bet he knows it too. That kind of fire can never burn brightly for long.

    Almost caught lightning in a bottle….let’s see where they go from here.

  60. So all the idiot 49er fans are claiming “the Giants didn’t win, Kyle Williams gave them the game”. But before the game there they were spouting off how they led the league in turnovers. The Giants forced the fumble just like your team did throughout the season. If it was lucky for the Giants in this game then it was lucky for you all season. As far as the ball brushing up against his leg, that didn’t go for a touchdown. The Giants were barely in FG range. Al your vaunted defense had to do was hold them, but they didn’t. You lost, the best team won, NOW DEAL WITH IT !

  61. bick54 – I might agree with your comment about a small % of fans making the entire fan base look bad except for the very audible boos that could be heard during the singing of the national anthem anytime the camera showed a shot of a Giants player. That said a lot about Niners fans in itself. It’s our national anthem folks – surely you can show a little respect for the little time it takes to get through the song.

  62. Did anyone see Harbaugh at the post game press conference ? He looked like a man who had clearly lost his grip on reality. He couldn’t understand questions, let alone respond to them. He was not very respectful to Coughlin either for the mid field hand shake – that’s at least twice now Harbaugh. Why would you put a kid with a case of fumblitis in that position in the rain. Niners deserved better- this one is on the manic (or should I say maniac ?) coach.

  63. Death threats? What, is the NFL suddenly soccer now? Really, some people need to get a life. Or end theirs, as the case may be.

    Overall, I found the game rather dull and the way it ended made total sense. Both teams played not to win, but to not make mistakes. The first to blink, lost, it seemed to me.

    Bummer, but after that game, and the way Brady played in his game, I’m not holding out much hope that the Super Bowl will be…Super.

    But I won’t be twittering death threats, either.

  64. The worst part of his play was the fact that he stood there and watched the Giants recover the ball after it bounced off of his knee. You felt it hit you. At least make an attempt to recover it.

  65. I respect the 49ers even more after watching them actually be there for him after his fumble instead of flipping out on him. Chances are no one feels worse than him about what happened.

    If the shoulder on the arm he was using to secure the ball was hurt that badly, though, perhaps you do have to blame Harbaugh for putting him out there. It sucks that it came down to a Ginn injury indirectly being their downfall, but that’s why you need depth, and they were very thin at WR.

  66. Did Kyle Williams’ 2 fumbles “CONTRIBUTE” to the 49ers loss? Absolutely! And here are some other 49er “CONTRIBUTING” factors: (1) The San Fran offense going 1 for 13 on 3rd down conversions. (2) The San Fran defensive backs not being able to cover the NYG wide receivers – ALL GAME LONG. (3) The San Fran wide receivers not being able to get open from the coverage of the NYG defensive backs – ALL GAME LONG. (4) Playoff Experience: Coughlin/Manning 6-3 record vs Harbaugh/Smith 1-0 record ( prior to the NFC Championship game). The 49ers did themselves in via mistakes and missed opportunities.

  67. I remember when RW McQuarters did the same exact thing for the Giants in the 2007 NFCCG.

    In the 4th Quarter he Fumbled an INT which gave the packers a FG to tie.

    Tie game with 2 minutes left he was stripped at mid-field on a punt return. However, Jarret Bush of the Packers tried to scoop and run instead of getting on top of the ball and the Giants recovered.

    That may have been why Ross was back there late in this game to replace Blackmon.

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