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Unused Miles?


Qadry Ismail went for 258, Jerry Butler had 255 yards and Anthony Allen also had 255 in a replacement game during the 1987 strike season.  

You want some Cowboys?  

How about James Dixon going for 203 yards against the Cardinals back in 1989? Dixon caught a 75-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter from Troy Aikman, then a rookie who got knocked out on the play by a blitzing linebacker. It should've been a game-winner but the Cowboys gave up a long touchdown of their own and lost to the Cards back in that 1-15 season. 

Dixon had the game of his life, but it wasn't too long before that the Cowboys were toying with him as a running back. They didn't know what to do with him, but he could run. And for one day, he was all-world. 

Against the Cardinals in 1995, Kevin Williams went off on Christmas night, exploding for 203 yards as well. Again, a good, solid player who took his game to another level.  

Please, don't mistake this for knocking a guy off his high horse. Austin had an unbelievable game on Sunday. But let's be honest, had he played a little better, his day would've been worse.  

If Austin catches any of the three passes that hit his hands in the end zone, he certainly doesn't end up with 250. The game never goes to overtime. Now, he still has a big game, with a touchdown or two, maybe three. And with that, we'd still be prepping him for Canton.  

But the point is, the things that have made Austin an inconsistent receiver were still very evident on Sunday. He's big, strong and can run like the wind, but catching the ball in a crowd hasn't always been his thing.  

Maybe, in that regard, he has turned the corner. He made arguably his two best catches of his career in the third quarter, when he twice had to leap and outfight defenders to make the grab. Those were the two "big ones" for me, not the two touchdown plays. On those plays, he made the catch, broke a tackle and outran people.  

Not taking anything away from that skill. The Cowboys certainly need more guys who can do that. But the part of Austin's game that makes him a complete wide receiver is just not there yet.  

The best part about Austin, though, is that no one knows that more than he does.  

And with that, changing the lineup to make him a starter just seems a little premature. Clearly, you have to get him involved and let him show us all if this was just a flash in the pan, or if it's the start of something big and Miles Austin is ready to make a name for himself.  

A name that gets pronounced correctly over the loudspeakers.      

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