SEATTLE With the stars getting booed, the Seahawks went to their recycled bin -- to win.
J.D. McKissic, the formerly waived Atlanta Falcon playing for the first time this season only because fragile C.J. Prosise is hurt yet again, ran for the go-ahead touchdown. On his first carry of the season.
No wonder Richard Sherman and Doug Baldwin had been lobbying coach Pete Carroll for weeks to play McKissic.
Thirteen seconds of game time later, Marcus Smith--the former first-round pick the Seahawks reclaimed off the Philadelphia Eagles’ junk pile this summer--slammed into Indianapolis quarterback Jacoby Brissett. Bobby Wagner scooped up the resulting fumble for another Seahawks touchdown.
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The Seahawks mobbed Wagner. The press box shook. All those howls from the home fans earlier, long gone. An embarrassing home loss, averted.
McKissic’s and Smith’s jolting plays late in third quarter broke a tie at 18, then Russell Wilson’s first touchdown pass of an uneven night, to Luke Willson of 6 yards, rallied and catapulted the Home Team That Got Booed Earlier past the Andrew Luck-less Colts 46-18 Sunday at irate, ultimately relieved CenturyLink Field.
"That was fun," quarterback Russell Wilson said with chuckle after his three touchdowns—two passing—in the wild second half.
McKissic sounded amazed.
"Oh, man, it was crazy," McKissic said. "My first run. … I just hit it.
“It’s something that you dream of.”
The Seahawks’ 36 points after halftime, when they trailed 15-10, set a team record for points in a half. The total points were Seattle’s most since a 50-17 romp past Buffalo in Toronto on Dec. 16, 2012, Russell Wilson’s rookie season.
McKissic added a second touchdown with under 3 minutes to play, on a 27-yard sprint down the right sideline and catch for Wilson’s second touchdown pass of the final quarter.
"It felt amazing,” he said.
Carroll said "I was kind of thrilled by the way J.D. McKissic jumped on the scene.
"We’ve seen nothing but great stuff from the kid. He just hasn’t had his shot yet. I’ve been catching a lot of grief from a couple of my guys on the sideline that we’ve seen him and why do we have to take so long?
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"But whenever he got the shot, he did great."
Justin Coleman, the discarded New England Patriot only playing because nickel back Jeremy Lane left injured in the first quarter, ran an interception back for the game’s first touchdown to complete Fringe Night for the Seahawks.
The feel-good vibe of the third and fourth quarters came to a halting end with 4 minutes left. Rookie Chris Carson got his left leg caught under him while Indianapolis’ Jon Brostic fell on the leg finishing a tackle on a run for no gain just before McKissic’s second score. Carson needed an air cast and help from the team doctor to lift his injured left leg onto the cart that drove him off the field for examination. The emerging seventh-round pick was surrounded by coach Pete Carroll and teammates who came off the sideline into the middle of the field to encourage him.
"He has a significant ankle injury," Carroll said.
The coach did not know if Carson needs surgery.
Left tackle Rees Odhiambo was prone on the floor of the locker room then wheeled out of it on a stretcher by paramedics and went by ambulance to the hospital after the game. Carroll said Odhiambo was having trouble breathing after he got hit in the chest at the end of a drive in the first half. Odhiambo returned to the game.
Carroll said Odhiambo was "stable" by the time he was on his way to an overnight stay in the hospital.
The Seahawks got booed off their home turf as the half ended. That’s what happens when they let a two-touchdown underdog erase a 10-2 deficit in the second quarter by scoring two touchdowns in the final 7 minutes of the half.
Wilson’s second interception of the night and season, both trying to target Jimmy Graham, went off the tight end’s hands and into those of Colts rookie Malik Hooker in the third quarter. That set up Indianapolis’ 40-yard field goal by Adam Vinatieri and an 18-18 tie with 5 minutes left in the third quarter.
Wilson completed 16 of his first 21 passes for 237 yards, with those two interceptions. He got sacked three times and hit four other times through the first three quarters.
Yet because of Coleman, McKissic and Smith, still-flawed Seattle (2-2) will play at the Los Angeles Rams (3-1) next Sunday for the early lead in the NFC West.
“We are looking forward to it, to the challenge, to just trying to be better,” Wilson said.
The Seahawks used four consecutive run calls for Carson to settle down the offense and the game early in the third quarter. Carson gained 24 yards, including 11 yards on third and 2, though the final of those four straight runs got negated by offsetting penalties. Point is, the running game got the Colts’ defense more honest, and less able to tee off on Wilson and Seattle’s porous (again) pass protection.
After those four straight runs, offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell called two straight passes, both into the end zone. Both were incomplete, to Tyler Lockett and to rookie Amara Darboh. But the run got Seattle back again--Wilson’s improvisational run.
He took off up the middle scrambling, then approached Colts safety Darius Butler. Instead of sliding or avoiding Butler, Wilson bulled through him and across the goal line for a 22-yard touchdown. Wilson uncharacteristically yelled and flexed after the go-ahead score, firing the ball away, pumping his fists into the air and head-butting teammates.
Tyler Lockett then ran a Jermaine Kearse-like inside rub route to take two Colts defenders away as Doug Baldwin ran free behind them to catch Wilson’s two-point conversion pass, and Seattle led 18-15.
Faster than you can say “Jeremy Lane was out with a hip injury,” Justin Coleman gave Seattle a 10-2 lead with the game’s first touchdown early in the second quarter. The former New England Patriot, acquired this month in a trade, intercepted his former Patriots teammate Jacoby Brissett on an Colts out-route pass in the right flat. Coleman returned the first interception of his three-year career 28 yards for the score.
Coleman was only playing at nickel back because Lane left injured in the first quarter.]
“Being that I knew the quarterback,” Coleman said, “I knew he was probably going to throw it toward me at some point.”
“I know him enough,” Coleman said. “I’ve been with him for a couple of years. I know who he likes to throw it to and who he doesn’t, and his best passes.”
The Colts answered with a 10-play, 82-yard the Seahawks aided with first downs by defensive-holding fouls on Bobby Wagner and Sherman. Sherman’s was for holding T.Y. Hilton on third down when he was matched up inside on Indianapolis’ top wide receiver then impeded him trying to break outside on his down-field route. Then Brissett, who with his big stature and Colts number 7 in all white looks like 1970s Colts QB Bert Jones, took off for 25 yards up the middle on a scramble,
Former Seahawks running back Robert Turbin ran through former Seattle and Utah State teammate Bobby Wagner’s hit up near his shoulders for a first down on third down, to the 1. Then Turbin bulled across the goal line to get Indianapolis within 10-8. Kam Chancellor kept that the score by breaking up the Colts’ 2-point-conversion pass in the end zone.
On the fourth play of the ensuing drive, Wilson tried to connect with Jimmy Graham outside on the tight end’s first target of the game. But Colts safety Matthias Farley cut rather easily inside the bigger Graham, tipped the pass to himself then toed inside the sideline boundary. It was Wilson’s first interception in 130 drop backs this season.
The Colts turned that into the lead when Brissett through high into the end zone on the left sideline and wide receiver Donte Moncrief leaped over Seahawks rookie cornerback Shaquill Griffin for a brilliant catch and
The first half was another sputtering, what-the-Hades-is-wrong-with-them start for the Seahawks’ offense.
In his first seven drop backs Wilson was hit twice and sacked twice--including for a safety in the first quarter when Colts rookie cornerback Nate Hairston stormed in on the quarterback in the end zone on a blitz and dropped Wilson before he could release a throwaway pass. Right tackle Germain Ifedi was also called for holding during those first seven pass calls, to ruin another drive.
And it wasn’t just the offense that was malfunctioning. The Colts' 205 yards behind a fill-in quarterback were the most allowed by the Seahawks in a first half this season. Indianapolis entered 29th in NFL in total offense, averaging 275 yards per game.
In addition to Lane, the Seahawks also lost Pro Bowl defensive end Cliff Avril to an injury in the first half, to his neck. That gave Avril a rare change to check online during a Seahawks game--and to learn the unhappiness that abounds on social media about his team.
I'm ... but man there's a lot of hate on here! Love you guys too lol— Cliff Avril (@cliffavril) October 2, 2017