Offensive Game Ball: Dez Bryant
Last week, Bryant had three catches against the Eagles with one of those coming on a nice, diving, adjusting catch for a touchdown. It was a step in the right direction for the receiver, who against the Falcons ran the same route, but because he didn’t run the pattern in the right way, the ball was knocked away, preventing a touchdown. This week against the Browns, it was more about skill than it was smarts. I’m not saying that Bryant didn’t run his routes well, the quarterback in the postgame even said he did, but this was more about physically beating his man, catching the ball and fighting his way up the field. Bryant is at his very best when he can play like this. Vertical routes, double moves, curls, slants are all a part of his game now. The fact that the quarterback has confidence in him despite all of the things that we think we know says a lot about his development. Today, it showed.
Defensive Game Ball: Anthony Spencer
Say what you want about Anthony Spencer, and there were those that were plenty critical of what this front office did by putting the franchise tag on him before the season, but you would be hard pressed to find a player other than, say, Bruce Carter who has been more consistent down after down. His stat line for the game was quite impressive with six tackles, a sack, forced fumble, a fumble recovery and a pass defensed. The bottom line is that Spencer was all over the field, both in defending the run and pass. With so much focus on DeMarcus Ware, the call was for someone to step up and help him on this defense, which Spencer has been able to do. If you asked coordinator Rob Ryan to name three players that he could not afford to play without, Anthony Spencer would be one of those guys.
Special Teams Game Ball: Dwayne Harris
Special teams captain Danny McCray made two tackles during the game and Brian Moorman had three of his seven punts inside the 20, but my game ball goes to Dwayne Harris. For the second week in a row, Harris was able to make a play when his team needed it the most. From the left side of the field, he was able to fight his way to the right where his blockers were set up waiting for him. One of Harris’ best traits is his ability to make people miss with the ball in his hands, and on this return, he was able to do just that. Since taking over the job as the primary punt returner, he has shown outstanding awareness and feel for when to not only let the ball go over his head and into the end zone for touchbacks, but also when given the opportunity, securing the ball and using his blockers. In a matchup where the Browns had the clear advantage in the return game, Harris did the best he could to neutralize that.