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Rams RB Kyren Williams 'expected' breakout season: 'I knew if I got a chance that I was gonna do what I do'

Thirty-five carries and 139 yards was the summation of Kyren Williams' year.

It's unlikely many saw the Los Angeles Rams running back's breakout sophomore campaign coming, but Williams was hardly surprised by his Pro Bowl campaign.

If he got his chance, he was confidence he'd run with it and Williams did, all the way to the Rams' first 1,000-yard rushing season since 2018.

"I would say I expected it because all I wanted coming into this year was a chance," Williams told at Friday's Pro Bowl Games practices. "And I knew if I got a chance that I was gonna do what I do. I knew that I was this type of player and I just needed a chance to show it. And coach [Sean] McVay gave me that shot and put his confidence into me and as a player it allowed me to feel good and just be who I am."

Williams was a production machine, as the second-season back out of Notre Dame ran for 1,144 yards in just 12 games, averaging an NFL-best 95.3 yards per game, and 12 touchdowns. The franchise's first 1,000-yard back since Todd Gurley, Williams was delayed by a pedal ankle sprain that landed him on injured reserve in Weeks 7-10. He returned with a 143-yard showing in a 37-14 victory over the Arizona Cardinals. It was one of Williams' six 100-yard rushing games, in which the Rams went 5-1.

Williams' best games of the season production-wise actually came after his injury. He posted no less than 87 rushing yards in each of the six regular-season games he played after coming back, and eclipsed 100 scrimmage yards in all of them.

Williams dealt with the same ankle injury as a rookie, but he didn't let it hinder him mentally, as the ever-smiling runner kept his grin and a positive outlook.

"It's easy to go down that tunnel where you're injured, you're not playing, it's your rookie year, you're not doing the things you expected to do," he said. "It feels like everything is just crumbling down on you. So, I had to find that realization to find that within myself where I'm going to be better because of this injury. I'm going to be better for myself, my team, for my family, for everybody that I do this for. Coming off that, I knew that I had to be better than before."

Perhaps it was the power of positivity or just a burgeoning star bursting out of the Rams' backfield. Maybe it was both, but the stats didn't lie about Williams' sensational sophomore campaign.

On a Rams team infused by a league-high 14 draft picks in 2023, the Rams overcame any ho-hum expectations many pundits had for them. Williams is confident it's just the beginning for his squad with more success to come after earning a playoff berth this past season after a five-win showing the year prior.

"We know exactly what we gotta do. We seen it, we felt it," he said. "We got to keep on bonding. We got a very young team. We had a lot of doubters this year. We knew that and we didn't let those things seep into our concrete, our foundation. We built that foundation this year. Coach McVay, he reconstructed it, he built it and it's stronger than ever, I feel like. I just feel like as these years keep on going under coach McVay we're going to be whatever we want to be."

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