Shawn Williams: Contact to Andrew Luck's head 'incidental'

CINCINNATI -- Bengals safety Shawn Williams said he wasn't trying to make contact with Andrew Luck's head on the play that ultimately saw him ejected from Sunday's game.

Williams was ejected in the first quarter after being flagged for unnecessary roughness for the hit, which occurred while Luck was scrambling for a first down on third-and-7. Luck was already being pulled to the ground by Bengals defensive end Michael Johnson when Williams flew in from another direction. Although Williams said he attempted to lead with his shoulder, he made contact to Luck's helmet.

"I leveled my shoulder," Williams said. "The contact with his head was incidental. There’s nothing I can do about that. I don’t know what he’s going to do as a runner. I know he’s going to try and get the first down and my job is to stop him. If you guys have any suggestions on what I can do to not get a flag and still do my job, then let me know."

Williams said he never saw Johnson coming in to make the tackle.

"If you watch him I don't know if he's getting ready to try to run me over," he said. "Don't get it twisted. Andrew Luck is like 6-3, 240, 235. He's way bigger than a lot of DBs. I think he was going to dive, but he wasn't going to give himself up and slide. I don't know. They expect you to know what they're going to do when you don't always know."

Williams seemed unsure as to how he would've approached the play differently, although he admitted the responsibility was on him to try to understand the NFL's new rules regarding player safety.

"All the onus is on me to understand," he said. "I don't know if they want you to know what Andrew Luck is going to do. I don't know what he's going to do. If it was up to me he should slide and give himself up earlier, but he didn't. ...

"I understand he's trying to get the first down and it's a big game and he was trying to do what he was coached to do and I was trying to do what I am coached to do, which is to stop him from getting the first down on third down. He was aware of where the sticks were and it was obvious he wasn't giving himself up that he was going to be tackled. It was unfortunate for me that the contact was to the head with my shoulder. It was just unfortunate."

Williams said he went and watched the game from a TV in the hallway because he wasn't allowed to stay on the sideline. He visited with his replacement Clayton Fejedelem in the locker room and tried to encourage him to stay calm. Fejedelem eventually recovered a fumble for a game-sealing touchdown.

"He was a little worked up," Williams said. "I know how it can be. He’s a key guy for us on special teams and at the time we needed him to step in and play big for us on defense. I told him to calm down. I know he didn’t get the most snaps in practice, but it’s still football and he knows the system and he plays ball for us really well and that’s what he did."