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October 13, 2009

Austin takes NFC Offensive Player of the Week award

In his first career start at Kansas City in place of Roy Williams (ribs), Miles Austin's 250-yard receiving performance garnered him the NFC Offensive Player of the Week award.

Austin finished with a career-high 10 catches for a club-record 250 yards with two touchdowns. Remarkably, entering the game, Williams and Patrick Crayton each had just 11 receptions in four games. Austin eclipsed Bob Hayes’ previous club record of 246 yards set 43 years ago on Nov. 13, 1966 at Washington.

Austin's two touchdown receptions went for 59 and 60 yards, the game-tying score and the game-winner in overtime, respectively. His 250 receiving yards marked the most ever by a player in their first career start and he became just the 15th receiver in NFL history since the merger to reach 250 receiving yards in a single game.

And now, Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips has said Austin will play as much as he did in the KC game, although that might not mean he actually starts. Semantics.

Jeff Caplan


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Never have I seen a receiver smile as big and as bright as Austin did as he steamed toward both of his long touchdowns in the game against the Chiefs. He has a megawatt smile anyway, and to show it as he was churning into history shows that he cares what happens to this team and town.

It was refreshing to be reminded by that smile why we "Play the Game". For fun. For glory. For Mom. For teammates. For the fans. Never for self. Football is a "team" sport after all. Never has "One" player won a Super Bowl all by himself.

But "One" player can lift an entire team out of the doldrums of mediocrity. "One" player can inspire a city to not give up on its football team and to not be "fair-weather" fans.

I don't want to get too excited over one game, nor, do I want to coronate Austin just yet. But, his performance last Sunday did give him the right to start the next game. If 10 catches, 250 yards, and 2 touchdowns-even against a lousy team-is not enough to win a starting job, what is?

What message would not starting Austin next game after such a performance send to the rest of the team? That herculean efforts are not rewarded? That stupidity owns, manages, and coaches the team?

Do you want to demoralize the team at this juncture? I think not. Start Austin next game. And please don't expect him to get another 250 yards. Let him play relaxed yet in control with total concentration. I think you will be pleasantly surprized by another "good" game where he catches most "catchable" balls thrown his way and he gets you some first downs. Touchdowns would be icing on the cake. Let's learn to walk first before we try to run.

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