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St. Louis at Indianapolis

Rams rookie Austin breaks out with three long TDs vs. Colts

CBSSports.com wire reports
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INDIANAPOLIS -- Once Tavon Austin broke free, the Indianapolis Colts couldn't even slow down the rookie, much less catch him.

Austin, the first-round draft pick with uncanny speed and unlimited potential, scored on a 98-yard punt return and grabbed two long TD passes Sunday as the St. Louis Rams ended a three-game losing streak with a stunning 38-8 victory over the AFC South-leading Colts.

"I've been patient for eight weeks and, hopefully, it's my time right now," Austin said. "I knew the day was going to come. It was just me being patient and me being true to myself and to keep working. I'm just glad that I had an opportunity."

Nobody has done more against Indy (6-3) this season -- or any time recently.

Austin returned four punts for 145 yards and scored on touchdown passes of 57 and 81 yards, his only two catches of the day. He also returned one kickoff for 27 yards while making the Colts look foolish all day.

Austin's one-man show started when he backed up and waved off teammates as Pat McAfee's punt sailed deep into Rams territory. But as the Colts moved into position to down the bouncing ball, Austin reached out and dangerously grabbed it at his own 2-yard line.

The Colts didn't react immediately, apparently believing the play had stopped, and Austin sprinted down the right sideline, avoided one defender and picked up a block on McAfee and reached the end zone to give the Rams (4-6) a 21-0 lead.

Even Rams coach Jeff Fisher couldn't believe it.

"I went from saying, 'Get away, get away, get away,' to 'Go, go, go!'" Fisher said.

Austin later caught a short pass on a drag route over the middle, turned upfield and avoided two defenders with an inside cut for the 81-yard score. That made it 35-0 -- too big a deficit even for the masterful Andrew Luck to overcome.

The Colts just couldn't get a handle on the 5-foot-8, 176-pound receiver who finished with 310 all-purpose yards and three TDs.

"That was a lot of fun to watch. Tavon, he's lightning in a bottle when he gets the ball in his hands," quarterback Kellen Clemens said. "His performance tonight is certainly going to be one for the books."

Clemens went 9 of 16 for 247 yards with two scores and no interceptions, hooking up with Austin on the two longest completions of his eight-year NFL career. His previous long was 56 yards in 2007 with the Jets.

The defense was good right from the start, too, opening the game with a strip-sack from Robert Quinn. Chris Long scooped up the loose ball and returned it 45 yards for a score. Until scoring their only touchdown, late in the third quarter, Indy had just 181 yards in offense.

Luck was sacked three times and the Rams picked off four passes -- three of them from Luck -- to win for the first time since Sam Bradford went down with a season-ending knee injury Oct. 20.

For the Colts, it was a miserable performance.

"We just didn't do anything," coach Chuck Pagano said. "I take full responsibility for it as the football coach, we did not have this team ready to play."

Luck finished 29 of 47 for 353 yards with one TD, though most of that came after the Colts dug themselves into a 38-0 deficit. Indy ran 14 times for a measly 18 yards, 1.3 yards per carry. The defense couldn't get a handle on Austin or his teammates, resulting in Indy's worst loss at Lucas Oil Stadium -- and its worst home loss since San Diego hung a 31-0 shutout at the RCA Dome on Nov. 29, 1993.

Robert Mathis did have two sacks to retain the league lead (13).

The loudest cheers, and most tears, came during a halftime ceremony when Army Sgt. 1st Class Jeremy Inocencio surprised his family by stepping out of an SUV in one of the end zones at halftime. His wife, Christin, and children, Dominique and David, ran toward him to give him a hug, drawing both cheers and tears. Inocencio had been serving in Afghanistan.

Austin provided the rest of the highlights on a day the Colts would like to forget.

"It is what it is, we got our butts kicked, we've got to move on," said Pagano, who will take the Colts to Tennessee on Thursday night.

Notes

  • Mathis also broke the franchise record for mutli-sack games in a season (six) and has a new single-season career-high, too.
  • The Rams played without starting right guard Harvey Dahl (knee) and second tight end Lance Kendricks (broken finger) and lost linebacker James Laurinaitis late in the game with a head laceration.
  • Indy had won two straight overall and five straight over NFC opponents before Sunday.
  • Indy, which had only six turnovers all year, had four Sunday.
  • It was the Rams' first regular-season trip to Lucas Oil Stadium.
Copyright 2014 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
 
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Sun. Nov. 10Final
72110038
00808
RamsColts
Pass: K. Clemens (9-16, 247) A. Luck (29-47, 353)
Rush: B. Cunningham (7-72) A. Luck (4-17)
Rec: T. Austin (2-138) T. Hilton (7-130)
Scoring Summary
1ST QUARTER
TDChris Long makes a 45 yard fumble return (Greg Zuerlein kick is good).
2ND QUARTER
TDZac Stacy runs for 1 yard (Greg Zuerlein kick is good). Drive: 4 plays, 43 yards in 1:29.
TDTavon Austin runs 98 yards for a punt return (Greg Zuerlein kick is good).
TDTavon Austin catches a 57 yard pass from Kellen Clemens (Greg Zuerlein kick is good). Drive: 5 plays, 73 yards in 2:05.
3RD QUARTER
TDTavon Austin catches an 81 yard pass from Kellen Clemens (Greg Zuerlein kick is good). Drive: 3 plays, 82 yards in 1:05.
FGGreg Zuerlein makes a 32 yard kick. Drive: 8 plays, 45 yards in 4:46.
TDDonald Brown catches a 13 yard pass from Andrew Luck (Andrew Luck passes to Coby Fleener runs for a 2 Pt. Conversion). Drive: 8 plays, 80 yards in 3:40.
4TH QUARTER
None
Players of the Game
Indianapolis

T. Hilton
Rec 7
Yds 130
Avg 18.6
TD 0
St. Louis

T. Austin
Rec 2
Yds 138
Avg 69.0
TD 2
 
St. Louis
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
K. Clemens9/1624720
RushingATTYDSTDLG
B. Cunningham772056
Z. Stacy266219
T. Austin1404
K. Clemens3202
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
T. Austin2138281
C. Givens254035
B. Cunningham118018
J. Cook117017
C. Harkey114014
Z. Stacy2604
Indianapolis
PassingCP/ATYDSTDINT
A. Luck29/4735313
M. Hasselbeck2/56801
RushingATTYDSTDLG
A. Luck41707
T. Richardson5205
S. Havili1101
D. Herron1000
M. Hasselbeck1-10-1
D. Brown2-101
ReceivingRECYDSTDLG
T. Hilton7130065
D. Brown564126
D. Herron157057
G. Whalen336025
T. Richardson333020
C. Fleener433012
D. Heyward-Bey330013
S. Havili325013
L. Brazill111011
D. Reed1202
Complete Player Stats
Other Games
WAS 27 Final
MIN 34
SEA 33 Final
ATL 10
CIN 17 Final
BAL 20
DET 21 Final
CHI 19
PHI 27 Final
GB 13
OAK 20 Final
NYG 24
BUF 10 Final
PIT 23
JAC 29 Final
TEN 27
CAR 10 Final
SF 9
HOU 24 Final
ARI 27
DEN 28 Final
SD 20
DAL 17 Final
NO 49
MIA 19 Final
TB 22