A week ago, New York Giants defensive lineman Leonard Williams expressed his frustration with booing fans. He pulled no punches, calling it disrespectful and acknowledging it’s something he doesn’t appreciate.
“They do bother me, honestly. Obviously, we’re in our own home stadium. I don’t want to be hearing boos from my own fans,” Williams told reporters. “I understand that they have a right to be upset as well because they’re coming to see us put good football on the field. We haven’t been winning up to date. But at the same time, I don’t know, I don’t like that.
“I don’t think anyone deserves to be put down no matter who you are. I’m not going to go to a salesman and tell him that he’s not a good person or ‘boo’ this person because he’s not doing his job or something like that.”
On Sunday, the Giants turned those boos into cheers with a dominating 25-3 victory over the Carolina Panthers led by Daniel Jones and a swarming defense.
Williams, himself, played particularly well, recording six tackles (one solo), three QB hits and 1.5 sacks. And after forcing a safety early in the game (intentional grounding in the endzone), Williams turned to the fans a blew them kisses.
Sarcasm? Frustration? Blowing off steam? Or making up? Maybe a little bit of everything.
Leonard Williams says he was blowing kisses to a fan after the Giants’ safety: pic.twitter.com/XmTkjLetQc
— Giants Videos (@SNYGiants) October 24, 2021
“I was joking around with one of the fans in the crowd pregame, so then after I got a safety, I was doing it again to him,” Williams told reporters after the game.
“I think while we were out there for pregame warmups, he was kind of doing that,” Williams added, motioning with a ‘go away’ gesture and a huge smile. “Like how I did last game and instead of doing it back, I just like blew him kisses and then when I got the safety, I did it again to him.”
Shenanigans with the fans aside, Williams admitted the Giants needed a performance like that.
“This is big time. As a unit, we kind of talked about putting the team on our back more and how our team is — what we think our team is built around the defense. We take pride in being a defensive team and you know so far this year we haven’t really been stepping up to the plate and I think this was a really big game for us. We didn’t allow any touchdowns and we’re putting our offense in some good field position and we closed the game out like we wanted to,” Williams said.
Williams has been accused of taking his money and running, but he’s actually out-producing a career-best season through seven weeks.
In 2020, Williams has 3.0 sacks, five tackles for a loss and seven QB hits through seven games. This season, he’s recorded 4.5 sacks, three tackles for a loss and nine QB hits.
In fact, Williams is even out-producing Aaron Donald. At least in the box score.
Listen I’m not going to point this out.
Leonard Williams 4.5 sacks 3 TFL 9 QB hits
Aaron Donald’s 3.5 sacks 5 TFL 10 QB hits
I’m not gonna use the nuance to say that Aaron Donald is obviously better but Leonard Williams is a top 5 DT in the league. I’m just not going to do that
— Bobby Skinner (@BobbySkinner_) October 25, 2021
Maybe fans should hold off on booing and criticizing Williams even if they are booing and criticizing the Giants as a whole. Send him some kisses instead.