Fill-in Falcons punter Wile shines in NFL debut

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Punter Matt Wile had a fantastic NFL debut on Sunday at the Georgia Dome.

Filling in for injured Falcons punter Matt Bosher, Wile averaged 58 yards gross on two punts and put all seven of his kickoffs in the end zone for touchbacks against the Cardinals. Arizona had two punt returns for a total of 12 yards.

“It was a ton of fun,” Wile said. “It felt pretty good. I was a little nervous before the game but once I was out there it felt comfortable. It felt right.”

The Falcons signed Wile early last week as insurance in case Bosher couldn’t play after a hamstring injury forced him to leave the Nov. 13 game at Philadelphia. Wile was a four-year letter winner at the University of Michigan and last year spent time in camp with the Panthers and Cowboys.

Wile's longest punt against Arizona went 59 yards and, for a moment, it appeared it may have been too long.

The Falcons had a fourth down at their 20-yard line when Wile sent a high, booming kick to return man Patrick Peterson at Arizona’s 21-yard line. Wile’s punt went several yards beyond the Falcons gunners, leaving Peterson lots of room to maneuver in the middle of the field, but Falcons defenders closed in and held Peterson to a six-yard gain.

“I thought I hit them pretty well overall,” Wile said. “I was lucky to have great coverage team on my punts, so that was nice. I thought I had a pretty decent game.”