Austin’s second quarter included a 98-yard punt return for a touchdown and a 57-yard reception for a score, helping the Rams to a 28-0 first-half lead.
“He has the chance to change games, and we’re going to continue working to get him the football,” Head Coach Jeff Fisher said. “There’s respect for him. After the return for a touchdown, the pooch punts took over, but when he gets his hands on it, you see what he can do.”
He wasn’t done yet.
On the Rams’ third offensive play of the second half, the rookie receiver tallied his third touchdown of the day, this time an 81-yard catch-and-run. By the end of the afternoon, Austin accounted for 314 all-purpose yards, which marks the second-highest single-game total in franchise history.
“It set the tone in a big way,” Long said. “I may have scored the touchdown, but Rob did such a great job of freeing that football. It just bounced my way and I did my best not to screw it up.”
The Rams followed Long’s return by scoring another 28 unanswered points, keeping the Colts out of the end zone until Donald Brown’s 13-yard touchdown reception ended the Rams’ shutout bid with 1:35 remaining in the third quarter.
For Austin, Sunday’s showing was a culmination of a season-long process of both patience and steady progress, a level of performance that had a measure of inevitability when met with opportunity.
-The Rams held the Colts to 18 yards rushing on 14 carries. Excluding four scrambles by QB Andrew Luck, the Colts were held to one rushing yard on 10 carries.
-Chris Long’s 45-yard touchdown return following a fumble recovery was the first touchdown of his career.
-Austin’s 98-yard punt return for a touchdown was the second-longest punt return in team history.
-Austin had 145 punt-return yards in the first half, which was good for the second-highest total in franchise history for a single game.
-Robert Quinn wrapped up the Colts’ Andrew Luck twice in the first half to push his NFC-leading sack total to 12.
-The Rams carried a 28-0 lead into halftime for the first time since Sept. 26, 1999 in Atlanta.
-Austin’s 81-yard touchdown reception in the third quarter was the Rams’ longest play from scrimmage this season.
-Austin’s 314 all-purpose yards were the second-most in Rams history.
-The Rams’ five takeaways and four interceptions established season bests.