PHILADELPHIA– On the winning side this time, Dez Bryant opted for the diplomatic approach.
Bryant scorched the Eagles for 117 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday night, with the vast majority of that coming against Philadelphia corner Bradley Fletcher. If he took any extra satisfaction in destroying that defensive gameplan, though, he did his best to downplay it.
"Take advantage of the opportunity – I'll put it that way," he said with a smile.
There's no doubt he did that, as evidenced by his first-ever game with three-receiving touchdowns. Fletcher and the Philadelphia secondary didn't know what to do with Bryant, as his first two receptions went for touchdowns, and he averaged 19 yards per grab.
"I was just ready to go – just like everybody else. We was ready to go," Bryant said. "We wanted this victory and we got it."
Bryant's postgame comments were understated, to say the least, but it was his pregame comments that betrayed a fiery demeanor. Television cameras caught sight of Bryant and Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins in a heated conversation during warmups at Lincoln Financial Field – a confrontation that set the tone for an emotional rematch.
"A couple words were exchanged – that's just being great competitors, getting focused and getting ready for the game. Much respect to him," Bryant said of Jenkins after the game.
The argument with Jenkins wasn't exactly surprising, given Bryant's anticipation for another chance to play the Eagles. In the moments following the 33-10 loss to Philadelphia on Thanksgiving, Bryant spoke at length about how eager he was for another chance. He reiterated that after the Dec. 4 win against the Bears.
Given that second chance – not to mention 10 days to prepare – the Cowboys delivered. With their running game averaging just 2.7 yards per carry, it was Bryant they looked to for a jumpstart. Working against Fletcher, all six of his touches went for either first downs or touchdowns.
"Cleaned up our mistakes – that's what we did," Bryant said. "There was things we did on Thanksgiving that we wish that we could get back, and we came out and did what we needed to do."
It was a far cry from Thanksgiving. Bryant caught four passes for 73 yards that day, but just one of them – a 38-yarder in the first half – would qualify as an impact play. With Tony Romo also playing at a much higher level on Sunday, the duo made sure to take advantage of the opportunity – as Romo himself put it.
"Tony singals me the play, and I do what he tells me to do and we try to execute it the best way we possibly can," Bryant said.
Romo appeared all too aware of Bryant's capabilities against this Eagles' coverage. In the moments before lofting Bryant his third touchdown of the night, Romo looked to his right and appeared to flash Bryant a thumb's up before firing away.
Given a golden opportunity to talk smack, though, Bryant once again opted for diplomacy.
"I'm not going to give y'all that," he said with a smile.