Chargers' Mike Williams Placed on COVID-19/Reserve List, Won't Play vs. Texans

Adam WellsDecember 25, 2021

Los Angeles Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams (81) celebrates during an NFL football game against the Kansas City Chiefs Friday, Dec. 17, 2021, in Inglewood, Calif. (AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
AP Photo/Ashley Landis

Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert will be without one of his favorite targets for Sunday's game against the Houston Texans. 

The Chargers announced Mike Williams has been ruled out after being placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list on Saturday. 

The Chargers are also going to be without running back Austin Ekeler, who announced Saturday on Instagram Live he hasn't cleared protocols to be activated. 

Williams and Ekeler respectively rank second and third on Los Angeles' roster in targets and receptions this season. They are tied for the team lead with seven touchdown catches each. 

A five-year veteran, Williams has been Herbert's go-to target for big plays. The 27-year-old is one of four players with at least 100 targets averaging 15.0 yards per reception or more this season (108 targets, 15.1 yards per reception).

Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings (137 targets, 15.0 yards per reception), Deebo Samuel of the San Francisco 49ers (109 targets, 17.8 yards per reception) and Ja'Marr Chase of the Cincinnati Bengals (102 targets, 17.0 yards per reception) are the others. 

Keenan Allen, who was named to the Pro Bowl for the fifth straight season earlier this week, will likely see more targets from Herbert. The California alum leads the team in targets (134), receptions (92) and receiving yards (1,007). 

Jalen Guyton should see more snaps against the Texans. He leads the team with 16.8 yards per catch, but he's played fewer than 70 percent of the offensive snaps in 12 of 14 games. 

The Chargers (8-6) are currently the No. 6 seed in the AFC playoffs. They are chasing their first playoff berth since 2018.