Flashback to Week Two of the 2008 season: A young, unknown receiver named Miles Austin fills in for the injured Terrell Owens against the Green Bay Packers. Very few people outside of Dallas have heard of him, so no one expects Austin to have a big day.
At the end of the day, Austin left the field with exactly two catches. Doesn't sound like much.
Except both of those catches went for over 50 yards, and Austin finished with 115 yards, including a 63 yard touchdown.
It was only a glimpse of what was to come.
Now come back to this year.
Austin has caught five passes through the first five games combined. As expected, that one game was just a fluke. He wasn't really a star.
On that day, Austin caught 10 passes.
On that day, Austin had 250 yards, including two touchdowns, one of 60 yards.
And on that day, Miles Austin, the underdog and former exclusive kick returner, caught the 60 yard game-winning touchdown in overtime to beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
That's a pretty good day for a former T.O. fill-in.
Since that game, Austin has exploded on to the NFL scene and become the primary receiving target in the Cowboys offense. Tony Romo now has another option to go with explosive tight end Jason Witten, and Austin has filled the gap created by the loss of Terrell Owens.
The only thing Austin can't replace is Owens' mouth.
A soft spoken player, Austin isn't the media darling people expect a Dallas Cowboy star to be. Austin has quietly flown under the radar for several years, and now that people see his talent, he just lets his game do the talking.
For those people who think maybe that was just another fluke game, explain the next week.
The following game, Austin caught 6 passes for 171 yards and two touchdowns, one of 59 yards. The Cowboys beat the Falcons 37-21 on the strength of Austin's talents and the huge holes it creates for other players.
And he still wasn't done.
On Thanksgiving Day, against the Oakland Raiders, he caught seven passes for 145 yards and a 49-yard touchdown. Playing the Raiders means playing Nnamdi Asomugha, and anyone who can put up numbers like that on Asomugha is legit.
Sometimes it's not a whole game that defines his skills, but one play. Against the Philadelphia Eagles in Week Nine, Austin caught the game winning 49-yard touchdown on a slant-and-go from Tony Romo. He flew by Eagles defenders on his way to the endzone, and again, his play did the talking.
The Cowboys say they saw it coming. In an interview earlier this year, Tony Romo said that "he wasn't on anyone else's radar. But he was definitely on ours."
Not a single person on the Cowboys can honestly say they expected Austin to succeed the way that he has. Not Tony Romo, not Wade Phillips, not Jerry Jones. I doubt even Austin expected himself to do this well.
A graduate of Monmouth University, Miles Austin primarily handled kick return duties his first few years. His first moment of stardom was his 93-yard kickoff return touchdown against the Seattle Seahawks in the 2006 playoffs. He wasn't used often as a receiver, but he still made his mark.
At the beginning of this 2009 season, Austin started the year as the No. 3 receiver for the Cowboys. He got the start in Kansas City due to an injury to No. 1 wideout roy Williams. His 250-yard explosion that day set a new Cowboys receiving record, breaking the old mark of 246 yards set by Bob Hayes in 1966.
So now that Miles Austin is the star in Dallas, Dallas has a legit receiving threat for the future. At only 25 years old, he still has a good amount of years left on his legs. Hopefully he can continue to bring the Dallas crowd to their feet and excite NFL fans across the league.
However, Austin's most noteable achievement can't be recorded in the stat book. It's not measured by a number. He broke a long standing sterotype held by Terrell Owens. Austin's greatest achievement is this:
Miles Austin has now proven that in Dallas, you CAN have the hands without the mouth.
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