Aussies had adopted the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl 57 with ex-Rabbitoh Jordan Mailata and former Saint Arryn Siposs hoping to become the first men from down under to play in a Super Bowl win.
But in just his second punt of the game, a fourth-quarter mistake by Siposs cost the Eagles dearly, with Kansas City producing the longest punt return in Super Bowl history.
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After the Chiefs took their first lead of the night 28-27 early in the fourth quarter, the Eagles faced a fourth-and-two and decided to punt instead of go for it – which was against the statistical models.
They were then punished when a poor Siposs punt didn’t give his coverage team enough time to stop Kadarius Toney – though they certainly had their chances – and the ball was returned all the way down to the five-yard line.
Three plays later the Chiefs scored and took a 35-27 lead.
And while it certainly wasn’t all the Aussie’s fault, Fox commentator Greg Olsen said he deserved plenty of blame.
“That return is all set up from a bad low line-drive punt by Arryn Siposs. The punter back from that injury,” Olsen said.
Philly Voice writer Jimmy Kempski suggested Siposs punted to the wrong side of the ground which resulted in the coverage mistakes, and allowed Toney to run it back so far.
The Ringer’s Bill Simmons called it “one of the worst punts in the history of the Super Bowl.”
“A line drive that Toney could just get the running head start on, that was big,” Simmons said on his podcast.
The Eagles went on to lose 38-35.
Earlier Mailata’s offensive line got off to a perfect start, powering the Eagles to an opening drive touchdown with some incredible protection of QB Jalen Hurts.
It took just 11 plays for the slight favourites to storm down the field, heading 75 yards to take the lead that they so often desire – because it allows them to control the clock, and thus the flow of the contest, with their running game.
Mailata’s enormous power was on display during the drive as the No.68 dominated his direct opponent to open up a huge rushing lane.
Hurts was able to scramble for one of the six first downs while the Eagles ended up with a first-and-goal after a Kenneth Gainwell rushing touchdown was reversed upon review.
That saw coach Nick Sirianni call for the team’s trademark rugby-style play, the QB Sneak, with Mailata’s offensive line overwhelming the Chiefs’ defence – with help from a couple of pushers behind Hurts as he surged into the endzone.
“The tendency of this Philadelphia team and with how many quarterback sneaks have we seen them run, Jason Kelce the all-everything centre, rugby style scrum and get underneath – you have to think from the half-yard line, it’s got to be up the top of the call sheet,” Fox commentator Greg Olsen explained before the play.
It was the Eagles’ 31st successful sneak for the season in 35 attempts.
The Eagles went for another sneak midway through the second quarter up 14-7, but Mailata’s fellow lineman Isaac Seumalo flinched for a false start on third and 1.
On the ensuing play a QB draw attempt saw Jalen Hurts fumble, with the Chiefs’ Nick Bolton returning it for a touchdown.
However the running game continued to impress on the ensuing drive, with Hurts converting a fourth and 5 before running it in for his second rushing touchdown of the half.
Siposs was called on for his first punt of the game on the Eagles’ second drive.
It travelled 57 yards and was returned for 12 by Kadarius Toney.
Siposs, in his other role as the holder for field goal attempts, did his job correctly as Jake Elliott slotted a 35-yarder in the final seconds of the half to give Philadelphia a 24-14 lead.
Originally published as Aussie costs Eagles dearly with ‘worst punt in Super Bowl history’
Story Credit: news.com.au