Aussie punter Wishnowsky makes NFL history in bizarre circumstances

Mitch Wishnowsky (pictured) watching on during an NFL game.

Australian punter Mitch Wishnowsky became the first Aussie to score a point in an NFL game during the San Francisco 49ers 28-21 loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Monday morning.

Wishnowsky had undoubtedly the most eventful day of his young NFL career so far, being asked to take over place-kicking duties after regular 49ers kicker Robbie Gould injured his groin during the pre-game warm-up.

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Fresh off being named NFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September, Wishnowsky was called on to kick an extra point after the 49ers opened the scoring courtesy of a Ross Dwelley touchdown midway through the first quarter.

The 29-year-old, who has only ever punted and kicked-off during his collegiate and NFL career, showed no signs of nerves, slotting the ball between the uprights.

Wishnowsky followed the made conversion by booming the ensuing kickoff downfield, before delivering a thumping tackle on Seahawks returner DeeJay Dallas.

The impressive sequence of plays from the man nicknamed ‘The Boomin’ Onion’ set the Twittersphere alight.

Unfortunately for Wishnowsky and the Niner faithful, he pulled a 41-yard field goal attempt wide-left early in the second quarter.

He was later called upon for another extra point at a critical juncture of the match with the 49ers trailing 21-13 in the third quarter.

San Francisco had originally planned to go for a two-point conversion, but a penalty saw them pushed back five yards and Wishnowsky was brought out for a 38-yard extra point attempt.

Once again he pulled it just wide of the uprights.

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Speaking after the game, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan explained the decision making behind his use of Wishnowksy in an unfamiliar role.

“You’re finding out right before the game, so it’s all percentages,” Shanahan said.

“I almost went for two on the first one, but we went for the extra point. It didn’t look pretty but he made it, so we decided to stick with it then.

“Then I watched the field goal and that looked alright, but it didn’t go in, so was going to go for two next time.

Mitch Wishnowsky (pictured) misses a field goal attempt during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Santa Clara, California.
Mitch Wishnowsky (pictured) misses a field goal attempt during the second quarter against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi's Stadium on October 03, 2021 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) (Ezra Shaw via Getty Images)

“(We were) just basing it off watching how he is and how he’s going and trying to play the percentages of what gives you the best chance to score.”

In addition to his place-kicking, kickoffs and tackling, Wishnowsky also performed his regular job impressively, punting six times for an average of 43.7 yards per punt, including three punts inside the opposition 20-yard line.

Wishnowsky’s busy day at the office was in stark contrast to that of his fellow Australian Arryn Siposs, who was relegated to the sidelines in a rare ‘no-punt game’ between his Philadelphia Eagles and the Kansas City Chiefs.

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