Australian footballer Jordan Mailata has finally made his NFL debut, representing the Philadelphia Eagles during their season-opener against the Washington Football Team.
Mailata was brought into the game to replace injured rookie Jack Driscoll, and undeniably held his own during Monday’s clash at Jack Kent Cooke Stadium in Maryland.
At right tackle, the 23-year-old didn’t look out of place, remaining on the field when Driscoll returned.
“Jack (Driscoll) battled his arse off. When he went down, Mailata battled his arse off,” Eagles centre Travis Kelce said after the match.
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Mailata, a former U20s player for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, was drafted in the seventh round of the 2018 NFL Draft, but was forced to wait for his first appearance after battling injury throughout the 2019 season.
According to CNN, the 157kg offensive tackle was signed on a four-year deal worth AU$34 million with a signing bonus of approximately $122,000.
“I am very confident and very prepared to do whatever it takes to be on this team and perform at a high level that the coaches expect of me,” Mailata told NBC Sports last month.
“I mean, it’s my third year going into league and I’m feeling very confident this year in my playbook and my skills, and my ability. So, I feel like I have very well prepared to take on the task ahead.”
After racing to a 17-0 lead, the Eagles crumbled to an embarrassing 27-17 defeat, in which Washington running back Payton Barber managed two touchdowns.
“We can’t have the mistakes, we can’t have the sacks, we can’t have the turnovers and expect to win, especially against a division opponent,” Philadelphia coach Doug Pederson said.
“Any time you disrupt your offensive line and lose some continuity there, it’s going to affect you a little bit, but the one thing I like about our guys is it’s a resilient group”.
Kelce conceded: “It was a very up-and-down performance for the offensive line, very poor in the run game.
“We gotta be better upfront. No excuses. I don’t think anybody, in particular, individually played a terrible game. Everybody had their chances to screw this one up, myself included.”
For their next fixture, the Eagles will take on the Los Angeles Rams at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia on Monday, September 21st AEST.
ROOKIE’S DROP SEALS DRAMATIC COMEBACK
Detroit Lions linebacker Jamie Collins found himself ejected from Monday’s 27-23 defeat to the Chicago Bears in bizarre circumstances after he appeared to lower his helmet and make contact with an official.
Collins was complaining about Bears running back David Montgomery before lowering his helmet into a tackle, and inadvertently brushed the game official’s chest as he did so.
The 30-year-old’s misery was compounded by a fourth quarter collapse that saw the Bears reel off 21 unanswered points to turn a 23-6 deficit into victory.
Detroit rookie D’Andre Swift had the perfect opportunity to seal a last-minute win when quarterback Matthew Stafford found him wide open.
With six seconds remaining on the clock, the well-directed pass was dropped in dramatic scenes, sealing defeat for the Lions.
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“I put my arm around (Swift) as soon as we got to the tunnel, walked up the tunnel with him and told him he’s a great player,” Lions coach Matt Patricia said.
“The game’s not on him. It’s on me.”
For their next fixture, Detroit will face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field in Wisconsin on Monday, September 21st AEST.
— With AFP