ARLINGTON, Texas – Dez Bryant could only chuckle when asked why he happens to play so well against the Eagles.
He wanted to brush the question off, but after posting four catches for 113 yards and a touchdown in an overtime win, he just had to answer.
"I think it was the Malcolm Jenkins incident. He busted my lip two years ago, and it bothered me," Bryant said. "I don't know. In my mind, it's over with – but I guess, when I see them … y'know?"
Bryant's point trailed off toward the end, but anyone who has watched him in recent years understands where he was going. Propelled by a brief feud with the Philadelphia safety, Bryant has dominated the Eagles in recent seasons.
After getting his lip busted back in 2014, he blew up for 114 yards and three touchdowns in a game with big-time playoff implications. Despite battling a bevy of injuries, he showed up last year to nab 104 yards and a score against the Eagles.
The reasoning is obvious.
"It's a division game. You know they're going to come with it, so you've got to come with it. They're coming with it, so you've got to come with it – and if not, they're going to bully you."
In his first game back after a month-long absence, it was Bryant who did the bullying to his familiar foe. Sure, he only came up with four catches of a whopping 14 targets – but every single one was a doozy.
His first catch of the night hit the Eagles' secondary for 53 yards on an eventual touchdown drive. The next one went for 23. On a must-have scoring drive in the fourth quarter, he added another 15-yarder.
Finally, with 3:04 to play and trailing, 23-16, he out-jumped Nolan Carroll's best effort and came down with a 22-yard touchdown grab to tie the game.
"The best team win I ever been a part of in my life was tonight, and I love every bit of it," Bryant said.
It certainly didn't look like it'd be a win for the longest time. Bryant watched the Dallas offense sputter for a good portion of the night, as Dak Prescott struggled through an uncharacteristically sloppy game.
As Bryant was quick to point out, though, Prescott's cool response to adversity was a pretty telling indicator of his ability – which the All-Pro receiver has been preaching since the preseason.
"It's just the game of football, man. Everything don't supposed to go perfect," he said. "It's how you react, and we reacted well. We came out with a win."
Finally healthy, Bryant was able to contribute to the Cowboys' winning ways for the first time since Week 3. And however frustrating it might have been to wait four weeks for an opportunity, Bryant made the most of it – and he was grateful to be part of it.
"These guys made me feel that much better," he said. "I'm telling you, man. The way that we go about our business is all fun. It's like, how can you not work – how can you not work hard? How can you not get yourself together? How can you not get yourself right? I give credit to all them guys."
However sloppy it might have looked, Bryant made the astute point that the Cowboys came out with a W. And with their top target returning to his scoring ways, their offense can only get better from here.
Take a look at some of our favorite photos from the Sunday Night Football game against the Philadelphia Eagles on October 30.