Sunday was a big win for the San Francisco 49ers. It was also pretty significant for the team's All-Pro left tackle Trent Williams.
Sunday marked just his third-career postseason trip in his 12-year NFL career. But more importantly, it was the first time Williams has been on the winning side of a playoff matchup.
The left tackle made the postseason in 2012 and 2015 with the Washington Football Team, however, never made it past the Wild Card Round.
On Sunday, the 33-year-old earned the first postseason victory of his career following San Francisco's 23-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys, advancing the 49ers to their second Divisional Round matchup in the last three seasons.
"It feels better than any accolades anybody can give me," Williams added. "This is the best feeling in the world, and obviously it's short-lived because it's a tournament, so we've got another big game next week, but it's the best feeling."
The victory comes just two days after the left tackle was named first-team All-Pro for the first time in his NFL career.
The honor is well deserved, and arguably well overdue, as Williams has been regarded as one of the best players in the NFL this season. According to football analytics site Pro Football Focus, Williams finished the year with an overall grade of 98.3, the highest ever given to any player in a single season. His performance throughout his second year in San Francisco earned Williams his ninth-career Pro Bowl nod.
"I was so happy for Trent," head coach Kyle Shanahan said postgame. "I don't think people realize how much Trent enjoys playing football. Any time you've got guys that talented, which he is as talented as anyone on the planet, they can show up and do better than most people. What separates Trent is he enjoys it. He tries to get after people. He loves playing. When he practices, he practices only one way, and I know how upset he was last week. It meant a lot to him, to get to the playoffs. And for us to give him that chance, you should have seen him practicing all week.
"He was ready. It was tough last year. One of the reasons he wanted to come here was to try to contend. We didn't have that team last year. I was really happy for him and everyone else in there that we're getting a little taste of this."
Williams made his return to the field after missing the team's Week 18 season finale against the Los Angeles Rams with an elbow injury. The 49ers relied on second-year offensive lineman Colton McKivitz to step up in the veteran's absence. However, while playing through the injury, Williams was determined to be on hand for his first postseason contest with San Francisco.
"I thank Colton because he played a great game last week, and he gave us a chance to be here. So, I had to take advantage of it," Williams said. "And I felt terrible for not being there for my team last week, so I wasn't going to miss this game for anything."
Williams and the 49ers have another shot to keep their postseason goals alive in the Divisional Round as the team heads to Lambeau Field to take on the top-seeded Green Bay Packers.