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11/10/2013 8:43 PM EST
Austin leads Rams to 38-8 blowout at Indianapolis
ST LOUIS 38, INDIANAPOLIS 8

By MICHAEL MAROT
AP Sports Writer

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) -- 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 did 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.

He's the first player with a punt return of 95 yards or more and
two 55-yard or longer TDs receiving in a game.

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 total 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
1/2).

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.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

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