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Bryant’s Career-High Receiving Night Marred By Mistakes
IRVING, Texas – Dez Bryant’s Monday Night Football performance won’t be remembered for his first 100-yard receiving game since his rookie year.
In between his eight catches for a career-high 105 yards, Bryant dropped passes and miscommunicated with quarterback Tony Romo on a route that led to an interception for a touchdown to put the Bears ahead, 10-0, to start the game.
It was easy for Bryant to give a mediocre grade for his bittersweet performance, despite the receiver gaining more yards than he had in his previous two games combined.
“Very, very, very, very average,” Bryant said. “Me, personally, I could have played better. I feel like each and every week it’s going to get better. I’ve just got to keep fighting through adversity. I can make plays, and I know that, and I know my teammates believe in me.”
Bryant’s only target in the first quarter resulted in a drop on a 10-yard pass at midfield near the sideline.
Romo started finding Bryant more to start the second quarter, completing his first two passes to Bryant for 26 yards. A pass too deep for Bryant forced the Cowboys to punt on that drive. On the next series, the duo’s failure to connect would result in a much more devastating consequence.
The Cowboys trailed, 3-0, when Romo looked for Bryant on a third down pass at the Cowboys’ 21-yard line. Romo thought Bryant would run a curl near the first-down marker, while Bryant continued running down the field.
“We just were seeing how the corner played,” said head coach Jason Garrett. “Dez saw it one way and Tony saw it the other way.”
The ball went straight into the hands of defensive back Charles Tillman, who faked press coverage and dropped into zone before picking off the pass and returning it for a touchdown.
“I’ve just got to give great credit to the DB,” Bryant said. “We thought he was going to do something else. He stopped and he played it, and he made a good play on it.”
Bryant finished with four catches for 44 yards at the half, before snagging another four passes for 61 yards.
He added a two-point conversion to close out the game, but by then the deficit was insurmountable. The drops continued in the second half, including one that slipped through his hands on a deep fly route near the sideline.
“I take pride in catching the football,” Bryant said. “I felt the sideline and I felt like I just wanted to stay in. I was too busy trying to focus on the sideline and not on the ball, and I let it tip my fingers.”
Bryant said there are lessons to be learned from the thrashing at the hands of the Bears – don’t lose composure, keep fighting, stay mentally tough. He said the Cowboys will be mentally strong enough to move past the loss as they enter the bye week.
“I know what kind of team we are,” Bryant said. “We’re a great team. We’re a family. We play good football. Tonight, it was just unfortunate for us. They were the better team.”