‘Unreal’ Aussie punter’s heartbreak
HIS New York Jets lost in a heartbreaker, but it wasn't for lack of effort from Aussie punter Lachlan Edwards.
His long leg and the San Francisco 49ers debut of Perth native Mitch Wishnowsky headlined the Aussies in the first week of NFL action.
Hastings' own Lac Edwards had a blinder for the New York Jets in what was otherwise a heartbreaking day for his club. The 196cm tower was put to work in the Jets' agonising one-point loss to Buffalo, launching seven punts - five inside the Bills' 20, more than any other week one punter - of which two led directly to points.
His efforts helped the Jets secure their first eight points on the way to a 16-0 lead - which they would later squander in stunning fashion.
Edwards capitalised on Bills QB Josh Allen's fumble on the first set of the match up, landing the ball on the Bills' 12, an under-pressure Allen's pass intercepted by Jets CJ Mosley and run home for a pick six.
His 53-yard punt early in the third pinned the Bills down on their own two-yard line and the resultant play ended in a safety after Brian Poole and Jordan Jenkins infringed on Frank Gore in the end zone.
Of course, Allen would rush for a TD and then find John Brown deep to give the Bills victory by the narrowest of margins.
A great day for the Aussie - not so great for his team.
#49ers P Mitch Wishnowsky boots a 54 yard punt in yesterday’s victory.— ourSF49ers (@OSf49ers) September 10, 2019
The Hangtime in his kicks allows the Niners to get to the return man and deliver a hit if they dare and try to make a return.
Wishnowsky finished with 2 punts for 90 yards. pic.twitter.com/C1qPAcnkZo
The glazier from Gosnells had a successful start to his NFL career, with his two punts helping the San Francisco 49ers secure a 31-17 result against Tampa Bay.
The 27-year-old's first career punt was a 54-yard first-quarter rocket which trapped the Buccaneers inside their 20 - and allowed cornerback Emmanuel Moseley to annihilate Buc Bobo Wilson for no return.
The 2016 Ray Guy Award-winner for college football's best punter showed why San Fran used a fourth-round pick on the Perth native, his second punt coming under the pump from the back of the Niners end zone that went 37 yards after a bad bounce sent it backward. He finished with a net average of 45.5 yards per punt.
Pro Bowl punter Michael Dickson had plenty of work to do on resumption of his second season, punting eight times - half of which were returned - for an average of 47 yards, in a thrilling 21-20 Seahawks win over Cincinnati.
The 23-year-old launched a 60-yard bomb in the third quarter, while a first-quarter leg ended with a fumble from Bengals returner Alex Erickson that was recovered by Nick Bellore.
Plenty more to come from Australia's best player in the US.
Ex-Demon Cam Johnston had his kicking boots on in Philadelphia's entertaining 32-27 win over Washington, blasting three punts for a net average of 47.7 - good enough for fourth among all NFL punters in week one.
On his first look of the season, Johnston was forced to employ some of his old footy tactics with a tackle on returner Trey Quinn off of his own punt. He then launched punts of 48 and 54 yards, the latter trapping the Skins in their own 20.
It had been an off-season of upheaval for Pittsburgh, with the Steeler finally shedding the Le'Veon Bell - Antonio Brown drama duo, but they played like they hadn't seen a football field in years.
A 33-3 loss meant Essendon product Jordan Berry was called into action more times than the Steelers would have liked against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots.
But he performed well under duress, two of his five punts landing inside the New England 20, producing an average of 45.6 yards with a 58-yard long.
Big Ben Roethlisberger had a stinker under centre. Is he fading or are there just not enough weapons?
The big fella twice got acquainted with Oakland's Josh Jacobs, moving his impressive 193cm, 130kg frame to bring down the running back early in the second quarter of the Broncos' 24-16 loss.
The effort produced a nice tackle for loss of -2 yards.
That pair met again in the fourth, Gotsis again stuffing Jacobs on the Raiders 40.
The 26-year-old defensive end, from Abbottsfors in Victoria, has become a key defensive linchpin for the Broncos, who are in a rebuilding phase.
Johnston's teammate, the hulking 157kg 203cm Jordan Mailata second year has been hampered by a pre-season back injury and was inactive for the win over the Redskins.
Mailata suffered the injury in late August and, while he is expected to make it back before season's end, the Eagles have not released an exact timetable for his recovery.
Eagles' offensive co-ordinator spoke glowingly of the 22-year-old Bankstown, Sydney, native.
"I think he's made a lot of progress," Groh said.
"We are very pleased with the way that he's been able to progress throughout the course of spring.
"In training camp a year ago at this time, he had never played football, or he played football for three or four weeks."
Jets punter Lachlan Edwards has been unreal in this game #Bills— Alex Brasky (@AlexBraskyBDN) September 8, 2019
Lachlan Edwards has been our best player— Jamal Adams Nation (@JamalAdamsFan33) September 8, 2019
Lachlan Edwards for MVP.— Angelo Inglisa (@AngeloInglisa) September 8, 2019