We’re just three weeks into the NFL season but already we’ve seen some of the Aussies abroad earning the plaudits.
Whether it’s flattening an opposition defender attempting to sack the quarterback, producing a touchdown-saving tackle after a blocked field goal or a notable improvement after a nightmare start, there’s been plenty of big moments.
Catch up on all of the performances in our NFL Aussies Abroad wrap!
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JORDAN MAILATA – PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Jordan Mailata is perhaps the biggest — quite literally, too — name among the Aussies in the NFL.
He’s also got the largest piggy bank among the Australian contingent, having signed a mammoth $AUD88 million extension with the Philadelphia Eagles in June this year.
But the hulking offensive lineman hasn’t quite had things go all his way to start the campaign.
In the Eagles’ Week 2 victory over the Minnesota Vikings, Mailata put in what NJ.com Eagles beat writer Chris Franklin perhaps kindly described as “not the best performance” from the Aussie.
“Had trouble with Viking outside linebackers Danielle Hunter and Za’Darius Smith, was called for a false start and a holding penalty,” Franklin wrote.
“Mailata might have been trying to adjust to the smaller, quicker, edge rushers, and it could be a one-off, but it was not the best performance for the left tackle.”
Shane Haff, host of Chalk Talk, was blunt in his assessment of Mailata’s game.
“It was honestly not a very good game for him,” Haff tweeted.
But after a less-than-stellar showing in Week 2, Mailata bounced back in Week 3 in Philly’s 24-8 win over the Washington Commanders.
As Eagles QB Jalen Hurts dropped back into the pocket, the Commanders made a play to try and get to the star man.
One brave soul included Washington CB Rachad Wildgoose, who tried to get around Mailata.
It did not end well, as the Aussie flattened Wildgoose with ease.
Even if it hasn’t been the greatest individual start to a season from Mailata, he’s a member of a squad that’s 3-0 and looking the goods so far.
It might be too premature to analyse their playoff hopes, but if Mailata can continue putting opposition defenders on their backsides and protecting Hurts, the Eagles could be set for a great year.
DANIEL FAALELE – BALTIMORE RAVENS
Daniel Faalele, the heaviest player in NFL history at a whopping 174kg, made his debut for the Baltimore Ravens’ 42-38 defeat to the Miami Dolphins in Week Two.
But it was in Week Three when the Aussie truly got thrown into the deep end.
Starting left tackle Patrick Mekari departed the Ravens’ match against the New England Patriots on their second drive, forcing Faalele to come into the game at LT — a position he never played once at collegiate level.
The rookie struggled early on as he was beaten by the Patriots’ Deatrich Wise for a sack just six plays after entering the contest.
Wise again got the better of Faalele on the second play of the Ravens’ next offensive drive.
Thankfully, as The Athletic’s Baltimore reporter Jeff Zrebiec pointed out, things slowly got better for Faalele.
“As the second half moved along, Faalele required less help,” Zrebiec wrote.
“He also had a few key blocks in the run game. On Jackson’s game-sealing 9-yard touchdown run, Faalele stoned linebacker Mack Wilson in the hole, while Andrews got a body on safety Adrian Phillips and Ben Powers pushed out Wise. It was an easy hole for Jackson to exploit.
“Faalele has a lot of developing to do. In a perfect world, the Ravens wouldn’t need to rely on him heavily this year.
“That was not the reality Sunday. Faalele stepped up in a tough environment and warmed to the task.”
Life doesn’t get much easier for Faalele, as he will have to block the Bills’ Von Miller or Gregory Rousseau in Week 4.
MICHAEL DICKSON – SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
Seattle Seahawks star Michael Dickson has once again been praised for his laser-like accuracy when it comes to his punting.
Famous for sending America into meltdown when he performed a drop kick during a game, Dickson hasn’t delivered any similarly crazy moments but the Aussie was at his brilliant best in the Seahawks’ 27-23 defeat to the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3.
With the Seahawks struggling to gain any offensive rhythm, Dickson’s punting proved to be crucial.
He drilled the ball 51 yards to the Falcons’ 11-yard line for no return, gifting the Seahawks tremendous field position.
Seahawks beat writer for News Tribune Gregg Bell described it as “Dickson doing his thing again”, while Samuel Gold, a former Seattle film analyst for The Athletic, stated: “Look, I’ll say it: What a great punt by Michael Dickson.”
The Daily Herald sports reporter Nick Patterson was equally positive on Dickson’s showing, even if it was brief.
“Special teams didn’t play much of a role in this one, but what Seattle did was positive,” Patterson wrote.
“Punter Michael Dickson was only called upon twice, and both times he managed to pin the Falcons inside their own 11-yard line.”
MITCH WISHNOWSKY – SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
Fresh from signing a four-year extension worth up to $AUD20 million earlier this month, San Francisco 49ers punter Mitch Wishnowsky stole the show in his side’s Week 3 11-10 defeat to the Denver Broncos.
Granted, it’s not exactly a great game if the punters are taking centre stage, but when it’s an Aussie, we’re all for it.
Wishnowsky punted the ball seven times, with three of those landing inside the Broncos’ 20-yard line, and a longest punt of 74 yards.
But his crowning moment of the game, if one can call it that, arrived in the 2nd quarter with just over 9 minutes left on the clock.
Wishnowsky punted the ball from the 49ers’ 42-yard line and sent the pigskin sailing through the air to the Broncos’ one-yard line.
A favourable bounce meant teammate Samuel Womack was able to send the ball backwards mid-air for a teammate to ground it inside the field of play.
Former Indianapolis Colts punter Pat McAfee was stunned by what he saw.
“Boom, boom boom,” McAfee said on the Pat McAfee Show.
“The most perfect punt of all time. The meat of the ball is in the field of play. The tip that has to touch the paint is in the paint. Literally couldn’t have hit it better or more perfect.”
ARRYN SIPOSS – PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
Former St Kilda man Arryn Siposs is signed to the Eagles as a punter, but it was nothing to do with his traditional skill-set that earned him plenty of plaudits.
In Philadelphia’s second game of the season against the Minnesota Vikings, the Eagles attempted a 41-yard field goal with Siposs holding the ball for kicker Jake Elliott.
Elliott’s attempt was blocked and scooped up by Minnesota defensive back Kris Boyd who had an open field to run and score a touchdown.
However, Siposs fired up the jets and brought Boyd down to the ground in a massive play.
PhillyVoice writer Shamus Clancy described the Aussie’s heroic act “as if he was a safety stopping a wide receiver from reaching pay dirt”, but also pointed out how the moment shows there’s a strong team bond within the squad that could spell even better times ahead.
“The 2022 Eagles are already drawing comparisons to the legendary 2017 squad,” Clancy wrote.
“Plays like this one, where even the forgotten man on the back of the roster makes a key contribution, hammer home what a special team this roster can be and makes that comp apt.”
ADAM GOTSIS – JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
Defensive lineman Adam Gotsis was released by the Jaguars in September only to be brought back just three days later, but the Aussie is already coming up with some big plays.
In Jacksonville’s second game of the season, the Aussie got off to a flying start as he came up with a sack on Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Ryan.
He also had a team-leading three QB hurries in that same game.
Associated Press reporter Mark Long said it was “impressive production off the bench” from Gotsis, who has made at least one tackle in all of the Jaguars’ three games to date.
CAMERON JOHNSTON – HOUSTON TEXANS
Of course, we can’t forget about Houston Texans punter Cameron Johnston.
It hasn’t been the greatest of starts to the season for Houston, with two losses and a draw against the Colts in the first week.
But Johnston has been busy in the three games, with a total of 17 punts made.
His longest of the season came in Week Two against the Broncos when the 30-year-old smacked the pigskin for a 64-yard punt.