KANSAS CITY – The plan for Week 2 was to get Dez Bryant involved in the game, and boy did that ever happen.
For better and for worse, it's safe to say Bryant's fingerprints were all over Sunday's game. You can mark the high points of the loss to the Chiefs by the big plays Bryant made, just as you can mark the lows by the big plays he missed.
Bryant's nine receptions for 141 yards was a far cry from last week's 22 yards – in fact, it was the fourth-best total of his career. But while Bryant made circus catch after circus catch in the first half, it was his costly drop in the second half that defined the game.
With nine minutes to play in the fourth quarter, Bryant beat Chiefs corner Brandon Flowers by two steps to prompt a deep toss from Tony Romo. Bryant stretched his arms out for a fairly easy catch that would have netted 30 yards, if not a touchdown – only to see it bounce off his fingertips.
"I took my eyes off of the ball," Bryant said. "I shouldn't have. That was a real bad mistake on my end. That is not winning football. That's something that I just don't do."
Bryant isn't bound to let himself off the hook too easily, but Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones was quick to offer some perspective on his star receiver.
"They all drop (balls), and Dez catches a lot more than he drops," Jones said. "Some of his plays had us in a position to win this ball game."
All in all, Bryant probably found himself involved in four or more game-changing plays.
Thanks to Pro Bowl punter Dustin Colquitt, the Cowboys started three different second quarter drives inside their own 10-yard line. It seemed Romo had reversed that trend when he connected with Bryant on the sideline for 22 yards. That gain was quickly called back because of an offensive pass interference penalty on Bryant, and the Cowboys soon punted.
"We didn't execute the way we wanted to," Bryant said. "But we feel like we're a good team, and we feel like we can execute plays."
It's a tough fate that Bryant will be remembered for those gaffes after the day he had. The four-year veteran absolutely abused Flowers and the Chiefs' secondary in the first quarter, as he reeled off five catches for 100 yards and the Cowboys' only touchdown.
"You can say 'What might have been,' but Dez played a really outstanding game – couldn't ask for any more from him," Jones said. "I wouldn't blame a loss on a single drop. I know it's easy to do."
Jones may try not to focus on it, but Bryant certainly will for at least the next week. Asked if his big numbers were the type of stats he hoped to post in 2013, Bryant focused only on the scoreboard.
"I can't even answer that question right now – we just lost," he said.