The Cowboys receiver was fighting for extra yards after a 15-yard catch from Tony Romo to the Carolina 33 when linebacker Thomas Davis chased down Austin from behind. Austin’s fumble was recovered by Carolina linebacker Luke Kuechly, denying the Cowboys a chance to build on a 3-0 lead.
“The fumble was a terrible thing to do,” Austin said. “We coach-up not to do things like that. The ball is very important to us. It has to be. When that happens, there’s nothing you can do after it already happens. It’s a preventive type of deal. But after it happened, the only thing you can do is continue to go out there and play hard.”
But Austin had back-to-back catches of 36 and 26 yards in the third quarter. The 36-yarder converted a third-and-9 and the 26-yarder was a touchdown that gave the Cowboys a 10-7 lead.
“He is a tremendous competitor,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He came back into the game and made a lot big plays [after the fumble].”
Austin finished with five catches for 97 yards and a touchdown. It was his best game since a five-catch, 107-yard performance against the Bucs in Week 3.
Romo had targeted Austin only 11 times in the past two games combined, and Austin made six receptions for 88 yards and a touchdown in losses to the Bears and the Ravens.
“Really, to be honest, the win is all that matters to me personally,” Austin said. “So you know, as long as we won, to be honest, I’m OK with whatever the outcome is.”
-- Charean Williams