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Stopping Tavon Austin key for 49ers

11/27/2013

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The San Francisco 49ers' coverage units had a brilliant night in their first meeting against rookie return man Tavon Austin.

Austin had just 19 yards on six punt returns in a 35-11 49ers' win at the St. Louis Rams in Week 4. However, the 49ers know it will likely not be that easy Sunday when Austin and the Rams visit Candlestick Park.

Austin, the No. 8 overall pick in the April draft, has exploded as a returner and as a receiver in recent weeks. He will be a focal point of a Rams’ upset bid. The 49ers know they must key on him.

"They've done a very good job because he's got all of those abilities," 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "Speed, quickness, the return game. They've done an excellent job of using all of his skills. Trying to setup middle returns and bounce into sideline returns. Misdirection in the return game. I think they also use middle returns. They use the wide variety that reflects his skills and that's a huge challenge for our coverage units."