Aussie Mitch Wishnowsky given game ball despite not punting

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·Sports Reporter
·3-min read
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San Francisco 49ers punter Mitch Wishnowsky jogs onto the field.
Mitch Wishnowsky was given a game ball despite not having a single punt in the 49ers win over the Bears. Pic: Reuters

Mitch Wishnowsky did not have a single punt in the San Francisco 49ers 33-22 win over the Chicago Bears, but that didn’t stop 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan handing the Aussie a game ball after the match.

Usually reserved for standout players, Shanahan’s decision to give a game ball to Wishnowsky after he spent almost the entirety of the game on the sideline might have initially raised some eyebrows in the 49ers locker room.

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However, Shanahan quickly made it clear the ball wasn’t for Wishnowsky, but rather his wife Maddie who had given birth to the couple’s first child just hours earlier.

“I gave one to Mitch’s wife, Maddie, because I heard she was very tough,” Shanahan explained.

“We kept checking in on them and he said he couldn’t eat and he was throwing up because he was so nervous.

“So she got one, he didn’t get one.”

After spending the night by his wife’s side for the delivery of their newborn girl, Wishnowsky only arrived in Chicago at 7am, a few hours before kickoff.

Thankfully for the 29-year-old, it ended up being a very quiet day at the office. 

The only time Wishnowsky set foot on the field was to hold on field goals and extra point attempts for 49ers kicker Joey Slye.

“We were just messing with Mitch because he had a baby yesterday and we flew him out here to punt,” Shanahan said.

“At least he held though.”

The 49ers offence put up 467 total yards in the victory, on the back of an impressive performance from quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo, who was awarded the other game ball handed out by Shanahan post match.

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The win snapped a four-game losing streak for the 49ers, improving their record to 3-4 on the season. 

The currently sit in third position in the NFC West division.

49ers centre Alex Mack said the improved performance of the offence was a ‘pretty cool’, despite it meaning Wishnowsky had little involvement.

“You definitely want to have long drives, extend them, get points, move down the field, so that was definitely good,” Mack said.

“Poor Mitch to fly all the way out here and just hold balls. Hold field goals - that sounds a little better.”

It was the first time this season Wishnowsky has not punted in a game. 

Entering Sunday’s contest, Wishnowsky had punted 23 times for an average of 46.4, including 13 punts inside the opponent’s 20-yard line.

Wishnowsky is in his third season with the 49ers after they drafted him 110th overall in the 2019 NFL Draft. 

A graduate of the Prokick Australia kicking and punting academy, Wishnowsky was a standout in college at the University of Utah, winning the Ray Guy Award for the best punter in college football in 2016.

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