There’s been a serious waiting game on the part of the St. Louis Rams for their prized offseason acquisition to really establish himself as a viable threat in the NFL. Tavon Austin had a rocky start to his career at the next level with a limited amount of big plays or game-changing events of which there were expected to be plenty coming into the league, but thankfully that all came to an end in the Rams’ absolute blitzkrieg of the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday.
Things didn’t begin with a bang for the diminutive first-year pass catcher, but he made sure people didn’t forget about his game-breaking potential with ridiculous 98-yard punt return touchdown in the second quarter. After breaking a few plays this season worthy of the highlight reel that were called back due to a penalty, the Rams managed to keep the hankies in the officials’ pockets on this magnificent return. But that impressive display of skill wasn’t where Austin’s breakout effort came to an end.
Austin made the most of his only catch of the first half as well with a 57-yard touchdown grab on a deep ball from quarterback Kellen Clemens. The law of averages hasn’t been on Austin’s side thus far this season (just 6.7 yards per catch on the year coming in), but his effort in this game really turned the tables on that equation. Right out of halftime Clemens hooked up with the pint-sized playmaker again on an 81-yard catch and run for yet another score.
The 38-8 victory may not have been all because of this Rams rookie, but there’s no denying the impact he had on the contest. And given all of the criticism that both Austin and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have received for the rookie’s perceived lack of impact on the field so far, this performance really put to rest any questions about his ability to change a game in the blink of an eye. Expecting results like these on a weekly basis would be an insane ask for a seasoned NFL veteran let alone a rookie still wet behind the ears, but Week 10 could be the catalyst that inspires some seriously explosive play from Austin for the remainder of this season.