Running the Numbers: Cowboys’ Top 5 Individual Seasons of Last Decade
My latest post at the team site is about the Cowboys’ top five individual seasons in the last 10 years:
5. Miles Austin – 2009
Statistically, Austin’s 2009 campaign is one of the best in Cowboys’ history. It is the story behind it, though, that makes his emergence so incredible. Heading into 2009, Austin had racked up 18 total receptions in three years in the NFL. Dallas fans knew Austin as the kid who sported the ear-to-ear grin as he watched himself on the Jumbotron returning a kickoff to the house in the Cowboys’ infamous 2007 playoff loss to the Seattle Seahawks. So to say expectations for Austin were low heading into 2009 is an understatement.
Then, after four relatively quiet weeks to begin the season, Austin exploded for 250 yards and two touchdowns in Week 5, including the game-winning score in overtime to beat the Kansas City Chiefs.
All told, Austin ended up posting the sixth-highest single-season receiving yards total in franchise history, behind only Michael Irvin (four times) and Terrell Owens. His 11 touchdowns place him seventh in team history, and the 81 receptions from that 2009 year are the ninth-most for a Cowboy. And, oh yeah, Austin started only nine games that season.
4. Jay Ratliff – 2008
Nose tackles aren’t supposed to put up huge numbers, but Ratliff was an exception in 2008. With only eight career sacks in three seasons heading into 2008, Ratliff wasn’t considered one of the league’s top interior defensive linemen. That changed when Ratliff erupted for 7.5 sacks and 51 tackles in 2008. Both numbers are still career-highs.
At the end of that article, I detail some of the top breakout candidates for Dallas in 2012. We all know Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware will produce, but if the Cowboys get contributions from an unlikely source, their chances of making the playoffs will obviously skyrocket. I’m talking guys like Barry Church, Sean Lissemore, and Bruce Carter.
Someone will be this year’s Laurent Robinson, but who?