Buffalo Bills running back Christian Wade scored a touchdown during the fourth quarter of the team’s opening preseason game against the Indianapolis Colts. What makes the play so special was it was the rugby star’s first NFL touch and he took it 65 yards to the house!
"Look at the Bills sideline, they are going crazy for their friend from England!" #GoBills | #INDvsBUF pic.twitter.com/divtxNcJp4— Buffalo Bills (@BuffaloBills) August 9, 2019
Wade awkwardly took the hand off, but after securing the ball, he put his foot in the ground and made a couple guys miss then outran them to the end of the field just like he did on the rugby pitch. As commentator Steve Tasker noted on the broadcast, the vision and athleticism from rugby perfectly translated to this run.
Following the score, Wade was mobbed by his teammates on the Buffalo sideline.
Wade was incredibly excited after the game and spoke with fans on social media and the media in the locker room.
"It was the best feeling in the world."@ChristianWade3 took the 1st touch he's ever had in ANY football game and took it 65 yards to the house.— Jon Scott (@JonScottTV) August 9, 2019
What a welcome to the NFL moment for the former rugby star. pic.twitter.com/iF3gsLAOf9
Wade, who compared himself to a four-year-old this offseason in terms of football knowledge, broke down his thought process during the lead up to the play
“The quarterback gets the call, and then he says the play and I’m trying to think about where I’m lining up, who do I have to protect the quarterback from, and what’s my route,” said Wade, via Rochester’s Democrat and Chronicle. “You think of all that stuff in a split second, and then break the huddle and line up and try to ID the linebacker, ID the safety, try to look at the front, and they snap the ball and you’re out.”
Sean McDermott went back to pee wee football in his response to the moment, as well.
“Great moment for Christian Wade,” McDermott said near the beginning of his press conference. “Great energy by our team showing appreciation for him. Whether it’s NFL, college, high school, or pee wee football, that was a special moment.”
Wade admits he gets stuff wrong and is teased by his teammates, but they also encourage him to “just play rugby” once he gets the ball in his hands. They were celebrating with him well after the play.
“One of the coolest moments of my football career, Christian Wade taking that to the house on his first NFL play,” quarterback Josh Allen told the media. “Big congrats to him. You saw how we reacted on the sideline, we all have an affinity for him, what he’s been through and the challenge he’s been going through trying to learn the game of football and he gets an opportunity and he makes the most of it. I wasn’t even on the field and it was just awesome.”
Wade left Wasps RFC in October of 2018 in preparation for the move to the NFL. He’s part of the NFL’s International Pathways Program. As a member of the program, Buffalo gets a free spot for Wade on their offseason roster as well as the practice squad during the season, but not the team’s 53-man roster.
“I’m still kind of lost for words,” he said, per the Democrat and Chronicle. “I can’t believe that it actually happened. That’s what dreams are made of. I can say this is one of the hardest things I’ve had to do in my life in terms of like studying and the mental stress and physical stress. It’s been very challenging for me, and moments like this make it all worth it. It just shows that if you put in the hard work good things will come, so I’m just going to keep pushing on and see where it takes me.”