RB J.D. McKissic made a substantial impression in his 2017 debut Sunday, flashing 30 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter and snagging a 27-yard TD pass from QB Russell Wilson late in the fourth. Inactive for Seattle’s first three games, McKissic probably would not have been on the field if third-down specialist C.J. Prosise hadn’t been nursing a hurt.
“I was kind of thrilled by the way J.D. McKissic jumped on the scene,” coach Pete Carroll said after his club scored 36 second-half points and blasted Indianapolis 46-18 to improve to 2-2.
“The guy has been practicing great for us. We’ve seen it all along. We’ve seen nothing but great stuff from him. He’s been a great kid. He just hasn’t had his shot yet. When he got his shot, he did great. You saw him fit right into C.J.’s role. That was what we had groomed him to do and he did it perfectly. That was really fun.”
“He’s a baller,” added Wilson. “He can run the ball really well and do some special things.”
Ignored in the 2016 NFL draft following a college career at Arkansas State, where he played wide receiver, McKissic signed with the Atlanta Falcons as an undrafted free agent. The Falcons released and re-signed McKissic three times last year before waiving him off their practice squad Dec. 20, giving the Seahawks a chance to pounce.
McKissic played briefly in one regular season game and both Seattle postseason games after the Seahawks signed him off waivers.
McKissic didn’t figure to get many touches after the Seahawks signed Eddie Lacy in free agency, after Chris Carson emerged in training camp, and once Prosise and Thomas Rawls returned from injuries.
Things have changed.
Prosise had an ankle injury that sidelined him Sunday. In the game, Carson followed with an ankle injury of his own. Rawls was a healthy scratch against the Colts, but can’t seem to remain healthy. Even with Lacy off the inactive list, McKissic figures to see an expanded role.
The first time he touched the ball against the Colts, he ran 30 yards for a touchdown on a play marked by an amazing burst of second-level speed – especially for a player accused of lacking “overt speed” when he came out of Arkansas State. That was the only the second time in his NFL career that he ran the ball. The final time McKissic touched it Sunday, he scored on a 27-yard pass from Wilson.
On the fourth-and-3 play, Wilson lofted the ball for McKissic in the end zone. He split two Colts defenders and reached behind LB Joe Bostic to make the grab.
Not only did McKissic generate 65 scrimmage yards (38 rush, 27 pass) and two TDs on five touches Sunday, he became the first Seattle rookie since 1977 to produce a game with rushing and receiving touchdowns — within the first two games of a career.
Only seven Seahawks, starting with David Sims in 1977, produced rushing and receiving TDs in the same contest within the first 30 games of their careers.
(G#=game number of the player’s career)
|1977||Sept. 25||David Sims||Cin||2||2-yard run, 82 catch|
|2017||Oct. 1||J.D. McKissic||Ind||2||30-yard run, 27 catch|
|1976||Nov. 7||Sherman Smith||Atl||7||53-yard run, 21 catch|
|1990||Oct. 1||Derrick Fenner||Cin||9||4-yard run, 2 catch|
|1995||Nov. 12||Joey Galloway||Jax||10||86 run, 38, 23 catches|
|2015||Nov. 22||Thomas Rawls||SF||10||2-yard run, 31 catch|
|2001||Dec. 23||S. Alexander||NYG||30||29-yard run, 16 catch|
Next defensive challenge
After getting gouged for 159 and 195 rushing yards against San Francisco and Tennessee in weeks 2-3, the Seahawks allowed 98 Sunday to Indianapolis, including 32 in the second half. Not since week 14 of 1997, according to Elias, had the Seahawks allowed fewer rushing yards — 29 — after intermission.
Seattle’ next defensive challenge: Todd Gurley of the Los Angeles Rams Sunday. Gurley produced 215 scrimmage yards (121 rushing, 94 receiving) and a 53-yard TD catch in a 35-30 win over Dallas Sunday, bringing his season total to 596 scrimmage yards and seven touchdowns.
Only two players in history before Gurley had at least 575 yards and seven TDs in the first four games of a season: Jim Brown (1958, 1963) and Emmitt Smith (1995). When Shaun Alexander won the MVP for Seattle in 2005, he had 470 scrimmage yards and six TDs through four games.
The Seahawks have dropped their past four road games to the Rams and haven’t beaten the Rams away from CenturyLink since 2013.