EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- There were only two Williams brothers on defense Sunday for the New York Jets, but there were times when it seemed like another sibling or two was out there, buzzing around in the face of Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
Quinnen Williams and Quincy Williams were everywhere and they made history, becoming the first pair of brothers with sacks in the same game for the same team since sacks became an official stat in 1982. They combined for 19 tackles in the Jets' 27-24 overtime victory at MetLife Stadium.
"It's dope, just knowing that he got his first [career] sack," Quinnen said of his big brother, a linebacker. "I try to get sacks every week. That's my job."
Quinnen, 23, and Quincy, 25, are reunited as teammates for the first time since Wenonah High School in Birmingham, Alabama. The Jets claimed Quincy on waivers when he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars at the end of the preseason. The front office didn't make the move out of sentiment. No, the Jets needed a linebacker. Quincy needed only one game before he was starting.
Quincy moved into Quinnen's place near the Jets' facility, and the brothers spend their evenings watching game tape (and maybe playing each other in a video game or two). They must have done some good prep work for the Titans. Ditto, the entire defense, which sacked Tannehill seven times and compiled 14 quarterback hits total.
"We're in the NFL -- and it's a blessing to be in the NFL -- but we want to leave a legacy in the NFL," said Quinnen, who recorded two sacks to give him 3.5 this season. "We want to be the best we can be in the NFL for our team that we're playing for and our teammates, and also our parents and our loved ones."
Their mother, Marquischa Henderson Williams, succumbed to breast cancer in 2010 at the age of 37. Both Quinnen and Quincy have a necklace with her picture in a pendent. In fact, Quincy wore his after the game, telling SportsNet New York that he dedicated the game to his mother. Quinnen is involved in the "Crucial Catch: Intercept Cancer" campaign, in conjunction with the Jets and the NFL.
On Sunday, three children -- all cancer survivors -- served as honorary captains. It turned into a perfect day for the Jets.
Quinnen, drafted third overall in 2019, already is known as a disruptive player, but it was eye-opening to see Quincy make so many impact plays. He entered the league with less fanfare than his younger brother; he was a third-round pick out of Murray State in 2019. The Jets picked him up because of his "fast and violent" playing style, coach Robert Saleh said.
"[He's] full of energy, just like his brother," linebacker C.J. Mosley said of Quincy. "He doesn't talk as much even though he talks a lot, but he's a young player with a lot of talent. I feel like, after this game, he's gotten a lot more comfortable with his position."
Quincy made his sack on a well-designed blitz scheme, one of several highlight plays for the Jets. But it wasn't a dominant defensive performance; the Jets allowed 430 total yards and 30 first downs and failed to create a turnover. They excelled on third down, holding the Titans to 5-for-19.
"The defense has been spectacular all season," Saleh said. "Stats don't do justice [to] what they've been able to accomplish. The D-line was outstanding today. The linebackers were outstanding today. The young DBs, play after play and through all of the adversity ... but credit to them. They were fantastic."
The Jets were ultra-aggressive on third down, capitalizing on the absence of Tennessee wide receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones. They blitzed a lot, daring Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry to beat them. They almost did -- a few times -- but the Jets (1-3) held on, thanks, in large part, to Marquischa Williams' two boys.