FRISCO, Texas – All he's ever wanted was a fresh start.
That's what Tavon Austin has been looking for since the moment he was traded to the Cowboys back in late April. He's embraced his new team, new surrounding and new role. His teammates, coaches and the fans have embraced it as well.
But needless to say, Austin's first game with the Cowboys wasn't exactly a fresh start, as he had just one offensive touch for 1 yard, and only played 10 snaps.
"The second game was much better," Austin said with a smile and a laugh, following his home debut at AT&T Stadium Sunday night.
Yes, the second game in a Cowboys uniform was appreciably better and it took only three plays to get there. Austin caught a 64-yard touchdown pass from Dak Prescott on the third play of the game, putting the Cowboys in front early. It was not only Austin's first touchdown with the Cowboys, but his first touchdown catch in nearly two years.
And don't think it didn't matter to Austin, who went to the ground, admittedly overwhelmed by emotion.
"It was just a long journey for me," Austin said after the game. "Last year was a tough year. I got hurt. I couldn't play like I wanted to play. It just wasn't me. So it meant a lot to me to get here, get in a new situation and be able to make a play like that."
Austin, the No. 8 overall pick of the Rams in 2013, has flashed several dynamic moments throughout his career but not always in consistent fashion, something that is definitely expected when being drafted so high.
"I've heard a lot of criticism over the years," Austin said. "People are going to say what they want to say, but I know what I can do and what I can bring to the table. That's been my focus – just trying to get back to the player I know I can be."
Austin showed some of that Sunday night, catching the early touchdown before taking a reverse run 15 yards later in the quarter. He also caught a 15-yard pass that led to a fourth-quarter touchdown.
"He's a big-time playmaker, we've said this all along. You can put him in a lot of different spots and line him up outside as a receiver, in the slot, in the backfield," head coach Jason Garrett said. "He can do a lot of different things for you. That's part of the package of plays we had for him."
And it's very likely the Cowboys will continue to have more of those packages.
In all three of the Cowboys' four scoring drives Sunday against the Giants, Austin made a play of at least 15 yards. Of course, no play was bigger than the 64-yard bomb, something that Austin said didn't have much to it.
"It was just a regular go route; just beat your man," said Austin, who needed little moves to just run by the defender. "Dak gave me a chance, I made a good move at the line and just made a good catch and run. We have been practicing that the whole week of practice, and I had a couple of good catches in that same play. When I got called, I was just ready."
Austin said plays like that can have a lasting effect, even into the upcoming games.
"When teams see you do that, they have to be ready for it," Austin said. "That's what a play like that can do. They know what our offense can do and has the capability of (going deep). So hopefully that opens up the run. Then when you (run the ball) a couple of times, you can go back to the (deep ball) again. That's what you want."
And that's exactly what the Cowboys got. Now, they have to figure out how to see more of it each week.