Australian punter Michael Dickson first amazed the NFL with his huge boot and drop kicks, but his latest gutsy game-clinching trick has elevated his cult status to a new level.
- Michael Dickson, a former Essendon prospect, bought the Seattle Seahawks some crucial time with outrageous move
- Was meant to receive ball to fake a punt, then eventually move out of bounds while eating up time to lock up the game
- Instead found a gap and made a running-back-style run and registered a first down, without need to concede points
The Seattle Seahawks held a 28-14 lead over the Detroit Lions on Sunday and were pinned dangerously just three yards from their own end zone and two minutes were left in the game.
Dickson and his punting unit were called onto the field with the plan involving the former Sydney Swans prospect to set up for a punt, but to catch the ball, hang in the end zone to soak up time and then step out of bounds to give up two points to the Lions for a “safety”.
The Seahawks would then receive the ball back from a kick-off and hope to shut down the game.
Dickson had other ideas.
Seattle Seahawks tweet Lions rushing first downs: Michael Dickson rushing first downs
He stood deep in his end zone, received the ball as if he was punting, moved to his right and to his surprise a path opened up before him, he took off and to the amazement of Seahawks’ head coach Pete Carroll and teammates, Dickson ran nine yards to achieve a first down.
It kept the ball in the Seahawks’ hands, they did not have to give up two points and the team went on to seal the game.
“It was open,” Dickson, 22, told reporters after the 28-14 win.
“I thought, ‘Stuff it. Try and get the first down’.”
Carroll, the 67-year-old veteran coach, admitted muttering expletives as he watched Dickson take off.
When Dickson’s gamble proved correct, Carroll broke into a smile on the sideline while the Australian punter was mobbed by ecstatic teammates.
It could have easily turned into a match-losing disaster.
If Dickson had fumbled the ball or failed to make it eight yards to the first down marker, the Seahawks would have had to hand the ball to the Lions close to the end zone and a likely Detroit touchdown would have cut the lead to 28-21.
Dickson said his teammates gave him a new nickname: “Big Balls”.
Carroll dubbed the play the “Aussie Sweep”.
“It was like he went against all tradition, all thinking and everything,” Carroll, one of the NFL’s most innovative coaches, said.
“He saw a situation and he took advantage of it and I think that is what great players do.”
Dickson said it was Carroll who planted the seed in his head last weekend in London when the Seahawks were flying back to the US after their game against the Oakland Raiders.
“Pete came up to me and said, ‘When are you just going to run the ball?'” Dickson said.
“I said, ‘When are you going to ask me?’ and he said, ‘Sometimes there’s a gap. Just take it.'”