ARLINGTON, Texas – Dez Bryant's talent was never a question. Now, neither is his presence as one of the top receiving threats in the NFL.
Bryant has already set his career-high for receiving yards in a season with 988 through 12 games. He's also recorded two touchdown grabs in each of his last two games.
"Dez is growing before our eyes, and you've heard me say that before," said head coach Jason Garrett. "He's really becoming a more consistent player, and week in and week out he seems to be making a lot of plays for us. The first touchdown I thought was outstanding."
That first touchdown gave quarterback Tony Romo the most touchdown passes in team history. He completed a short pass to Bryant, who did the rest for a 23-yard score to tie the game in the third quarter.
Bryant said Romo's one of the best competitors he's ever seen, and his quarterback's desire to win makes Bryant want to make a play that much more. He said Romo's ambition and drive becomes contagious.
"Tony believes in me," Bryant said. "I want that to increase. It's all about not losing composure and being focused and just doing what's right. I feel like just me staying on top of my game makes a big difference."
The belief Romo has in Bryant to make a play was most evident on a third-and-2 with the Cowboys trailing by three points in the fourth quarter. Rather than convert a short pass for a first down, Romo went deep to Bryant, who had a step on cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie with a safety closing in over the top.
Bryant secured the football and absorbed the oncoming hit to complete a 35-yard pass. The completion occurred after Bryant went to the locker room to get an IV for cramps. Four plays later, at the Eagles' 6-yard line, Romo delivered a quick pass to Bryant, who fought through Rodgers-Cromartie's tackle to cross the goal line.
"I've got to run through him," Bryant said. "It's just one of my things. I don't want to get tackled by one guy."
Bryant's second touchdown gave him 23 career scoring receptions, passing Jay Novacek and tying Patrick Crayton for 12th in franchise history. Six of those touchdown receptions came in the last four weeks, as Bryant has recorded at least one touchdown catch in each game during that span.
Once again, the receiver emerged when he was needed most. He had only one catch in the first half before finishing with six grabs for 98 yards.
"I know that when my number is called, I'm going to do my job," Bryant said. "Just like everybody else. When your number is called, you do your job. I knew it was going to come, and it did.
Bryant attributed the consistent success to his focus level, which is obvious to everyone in the organization.
"Dez is just being noticeably dedicated, noticeably committed, if you want to compare it to months ago or at least two years ago," said owner Jerry Jones. "It's showing. It's showing on and off the field."