Published by Staff Writers, 18 September 2018 on foxsports.com.au
AUSTRALIAN Michael Dickson is doing things NFL fans have never seen. Before today, it was his punting that had fans around the league waxing lyrical.
But in front of millions on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears, the 22-year-old pulled out all the tricks, as head coach Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks looked for a way back into the game.
A 24-17 loss was Seattle’s second of the season, but it was what Dickson did in the fourth quarter that stole the show.
After Russell Wilson led the Seahawks down the field for a touchdown, an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty on the Bears applied on the kickoff meant Seattle would kick from the half-way line, rather than their 35-yard line.
To avoid the risk of a touchback, Dickson, a punter, went out in place of kicker Sebastien Janikowski, and did something that is rarely seen, if ever.
A drop kick kickoff. Naturally, he nailed it; the ball caught at Chicago’s one-yard line.
ESPN commentators Joe Tessitore and Jason Witten were left scratching their heads watching Dickson.
“A drop kick kick-off?” Tessitore asked.
“We are going to send our stat folks into overdrive here, but I’m going to put it out there.
“You tell me the last time you ever saw a drop kick kick-off in the NFL?” “I don’t know if it ever happened Joe,” Witten replied.
Carroll, one of the more progressive coaches in the NFL, hasn’t been afraid to let Dickson attempt risky punts to start the season. But this was something else.
The Aussie had another chance with 14 seconds on the clock, as the Seahawks pulled within a touchdown; a drop kick onside kick Seattle’s last chance to salvage a result, but the ball couldn’t be recovered.
Dickson finished the game with seven punts at an average of 45.1 yards, and a longest off 55 yards.
BEARS DEFENCE DOMINATES
Khalil Mack had one of six sacks against Russell Wilson, Prince Amukamara returned an interception 49 yards for a touchdown and the Chicago Bears handed head coach Matt Nagy his first career victory.
Mack sprinted out of the tunnel to a neat ovation prior to his first appearance at Soldier Field since a blockbuster trade from Oakland just over two weeks ago.
Chicago gave him a six-year, $141 million extension that guarantees $90 million — the richest deal ever for an NFL defensive player, and the 27-year-old is proving his value.
Mack had the crowd roaring with a strip sack in the first half, smacking the ball out of Wilson’s hand as he wound up to pass, and he consistently pressured the quarterback.
It was more of the same from last week, when he had a strip-sack and interception return for a TD at Green Bay, except there was one key difference.
The Bears came out on top after blowing a 20-point lead against a hobbled Aaron Rodgers in a loss to the Packers.
Wilson has been sacked six times in each game this season. With the Bears applying constant pressure and his receivers struggling to get open, the four-time Pro Bowl quarterback completed 22 of 36 passes for 226 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.
Chicago’s Mitchell Trubisky was 25 of 34 for 200 yards. The No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft, Trubisky threw touchdown passes to Trey Burton on Chicago’s first possession and rookie Anthony Miller early in the fourth quarter. But he was also intercepted two times by Shaquill Griffin — on a deep ball that was underthrown and on another throw tipped at the line.