DeAngelo Williams watched young backs Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman combine for 183 scrimmage yards in the Pittsburgh Steelers 18-16 wild-card win over the Cincinnati Bengals. Then the veteran gushed over the young playmaking of the duo, nicknamed TNT.
"I think they did a tremendous job going in and doing the things they did, rushing for over 100 yards combined, and contributing in the passing game as well," said Williams, via the team's official website. "A lot of people don't know who they are. I saw somebody called them TNT and I thought that is the perfect name for them, them being dynamite. That is the way that they played."
Mike Tomlin added to the praise on Tuesday, saying "their contributions were impressive." He added: "They may have to do it again this week," via NFL Media's Aditi Kinkhabwala.
Toussaint got the start and rushed 17 times for 58 yards, and displayed explosiveness in the passing attack with four catches for 60 receiving yards. Toussaint became the first Steelers player with 50-plus rush yards and 50-plus receiving yards in a playoff game since Merril Hoge in 1989.
Todman showed good burst, rushing for 65 yards on 11 carries, including a team-long scamper of 25 yards.
The duo is a testament to the Steelers' coaching staff and front office unearthing talent and depth at the running back position. They brought in Williams this offseason after seeing what life was like when Le'Veon Bell went down last season. DeAngelo was a fantastic replacement for Bell this season, and "TNT" showed they could help shoulder the load in a big spot.
Tomlin added Tuesday: "DeAngelo still on the outside looking in. I'll leave the door ajar for him." The coach noted that the veteran doesn't need to practice in order to play.
If Williams can't play, he's got confidence the young duo can step up again.
"You can't let injuries dictate the outcome of a football game," said Williams. "You have to persevere and keep fighting. That is how we are. If there is a blade of grass to defend or take, we do it.
"You can tell everybody is playing at a high level. In the playoffs you have to step your game up and that is exactly what we did. We stepped our game up and our level of play. It's even more important when guys step up for a guy that went down in front of them. That is what I did with Le'Veon earlier in the season, not trying to replace him but keep the production at a high level so we keep winning football games. Then I go down and the two of them step in and we have Toussaint and Todman stepping in and doing what they did. It's great to have that. A lot of teams don't have that luxury."