SAN DIEGO -- Steve Williams knew he had it in him.
One of the things the defensive staff for the San Diego Chargers liked about the diminutive cornerback is the way he competes, and that was on display in the team's road loss to the Denver Broncos in the final game of the 2015 season.
Williams kept the Chargers in the game by himself in the first half. After getting beat by wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders for a 46-yard reception early in the game, Williams ran him down, stripped the ball and recovered.
Williams also corralled an interception on a tipped ball and forced a fumble on a strip sack of quarterback Osweiler recovered by safety Jahleel Addae.
Williams filled up the stat sheet, finishing with six combined tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, interception, sack and a pass breakup.
It's the kind of breakout performance the Cal product was looking for in his third season, and helped prove that he belongs in the NFL.
"I'm a fighter," Williams said. "And I'm strong enough to play in this league."
Williams' play represents a young secondary that's looking to create a new identity with veteran safety Eric Weddle likely moving on in free agency.
Jahleel Addae provides the highlight hits and energy. A healthy Brandon Flowers likely will shift to more of a role as a slot defender in 2016. Rookie Craig Mager showed he can compete as a press corner, along with playing inside as a slot defender.
And Patrick Robinson was the most consistent performer in the secondary for the Chargers in 2015, serving as a glue guy for the position group.
"I'm looking forward to next season," Williams said. "We've got a lot of young guys in the secondary, and it's going to be fun. We've got a lot of energy, we play with passion and we're going to bring that back next year."
Here's a closer look at the snap counts for the Chargers in their loss to the Broncos in Week 17:
OFFENSE (Based on 72 snaps)
Quarterback -- Philip Rivers 72.
Offensive analysis -- Brown finished with 81 rushing yards on 21 carries, averaging 3.9 yards per carry. ... Woodhead led the Chargers with 10 targets, finishing with eight receptions for 51 yards. ... Rivers finished 8-of-15 on third down for 73 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He was sacked twice, posting a 61.3 passer rating on third down.
DEFENSE (Based on 65 snaps)
Defensive analysis -- Te'o led San Diego's defense with nine combined tackles against the Broncos. Addae finished with seven. ... The Chargers gave up 210 rushing yards against the Broncos, an average of 6.6 yards per carry. ... Mager's 66 defensive snaps was a career-high. … The Chargers allowed six plays of 20-plus yards against Denver. ... The Broncos scored points on four of the six drives Manning was in the game when he took over for Osweiler in the third quarter.