Kyle Williams put his hands on his helmet and dropped his head in disgust. It was the backup punt returner's second big mistake of the day and it came at the worst possible time.
Williams fumbled in overtime to set up Lawrence Tynes' 31-yard field goal, and the 49ers lost the NFC championship game to the New York Giants 20-17 on Sunday.
Williams isn't the first string kick returner. Prior to Sunday, he had returned punts just twice this season. He played Sunday because Ted Ginn Jr., the team's normal punt returner, was hurt. Williams also muffed another punt early in the fourth quarter which set up a go-ahead touchdown for New York.
Williams didn't run from the cameras after the game, facing reporters who crowded around his locker. (Raw video at the top of the page). He said fellow players told him to keep his head up.
"You hate to be the last guy that had the ball, to give it away in that fashion and to lose a game of this magnitude," Williams said. "It is what it is. We're going to move forward as a team. Everyone has come to pat me on the back and the shoulder to say it's not me."
And while there was support for Williams in the locker room, there were people tweeting death threats on his Twitter account.
Sunday night, several hateful messages and veiled threats were posted. Many of them were taken down that specifically talked about wanting him to die.
"We, of course, take any threat to a player seriously. We have spoken with the team, which is in touch with the player," Senior Vice President of Public Relations for the NFL Greg Aiello said. .He added that law enforcement was aware of the threats..
Williams has deep roots in the South Bay. His father is a Stanford grad and he is the current general manager for the Chicago White Sox. He is a San Jose native and his grandparents still live in the area.
His teammates did not place any blame on Williams. To a man, the 49ers said they are a team. "We win together, we lose together, so that's how we do that," defensive tackle Justin Smith said.
"Obviously, we all know how committed he is, how much he wants to win, what part of this team he is, so it's not on him," Alex Smith said.