IRVING, Texas – When you look back on the start of the season, which by now feels like ages ago to some, wide receiver Dez Bryant was actually having a slow start to the year.
Four games went by before he even found the end zone.
And look at him now … Bryant is tied for second in the NFL with 10 touchdown catches, including one in six straight games. He's scored eight touchdowns here in the last six games.
But that really shouldn't come as a surprise. If you think about it, six games ago was the start of the second half of the season.
And all 10 touchdowns by Bryant … have occurred in the second half of games.
Bryant has literally been a second-half player this year, both in games and in the regular season.
After the game Sunday, Bryant talked about a never-say-die-attitude and said it stems from his teammates.
"Just don't quit. When you look in this locker room and you look at the players, if we're down going into half or we're just down period, you can never sense it from anyone, that anyone is about to quit," Bryant said. "It's all about fighting, fighting, fighting and we're about to score this drive and play football, and that's what we do."
Bryant fought more than just the situation or an opponent, he had to fight through the pain in his fractured left index finger, an injury that jeopardized his chances of playing earlier in the week. But it became clear Bryant was going to do everything possible to play. Even with the injury, he came through with a huge touchdown catch – in the second half of course.
Here's a quick recap of Bryant's second-half moments in the second half of the season so far:
Philadelphia, Nov. 11 –After another quiet first half where he had no catches, Bryant came on strong, finishing with 87 yards on three catches, including a diving 30-yard touchdown grab that tied the game late in the third quarter.
Cleveland, Nov. 18 – Bryant was pretty strong from start to finish, grabbing 12 passes for 145 yards. But his clutch moment occurred early in the fourth with a 28-yard touchdown catch in the end zone that gave the Cowboys their first lead. They would need overtime to win.
Washington, Nov. 22 – For the second straight game, Bryant totaled 145 receiving yards, and most of it occurred in the second half. He caught an 85-yard touchdown to get the Cowboys back in the game and then had a spectacular 11-yard scoring catch as well. He just missed catching a third score late in the game that could've made a big difference.
Philadelphia, Dec. 2– The Cowboys were again down by two scores and called on Bryant to make the big plays. His 23-yard touchdown catch tied the game in the third quarter and then he gave the Cowboys the lead for good on a 6-yard scoring pass in which he simply ran over the defender to the end zone.
Cincinnati, Nov. 9 –He had just four catches for 50 yards, but half of his production occurred after he suffered the broken finger, which didn't stop him from a 27-yard touchdown catch midway through the fourth. Bryant had another nine-yard grab on the game-winning drive.
Pittsburgh, Nov. 16 – It took a while for the Cowboys to test Bryant's finger but in the second half, he started to come alive again. He caught a 24-yard touchdown pass to give the Cowboys a third-quarter lead. He had four catches for 59 yards, but his presence alone made a huge difference.