ARLINGTON, Texas – Sometimes thinking less can help out more.
That was the case for Dez Bryant, who had the ball pop loose after a catch for a second straight game. The Cowboys recovered the fumble and Bryant turned on his game from that point on during the Thanksgiving Day matchup against the Raiders by worrying less and acting more like himself.
"After (the fumble) happened, I got to talking," Bryant said. "I don't care who was looking. I'm going to be me. This is who I've got to be. I've got to me. I can't be watching and worrying about everything else, worrying about catching the ball and paying attention to the tuck. When I do that, that's when I screw up."
Bryant's fumble occurred after a five-yard gain that brought the Cowboys to the Raiders' 27-yard line. As the ball squirted loose, left tackle Tyron Smith corralled it at the 29-yard line to keep the drive alive.
After an incomplete pass to Miles Austin, Romo found Bryant on a third down pass for 25 yards to move the sticks and set up Murray's four-yard touchdown run.
"When I go out there, I've just got to play Dez, to be Dez," Bryant said. "After that, after that third down conversion, I had it in my mind – it's on."
Bryant had no catches before the late scoring drive in the first half. He finished the first half with two catches for 28 yards and poured on his statistics from there, finishing with seven catches for 61 yards and a touchdown, which occurred on a back shoulder fade against former teammate Mike Jenkins.
"It's always good to catch a touchdown," Bryant said. "Me and Jenkins, we're friends, but whenever we're in between the lines, he knows it's a battle. That's exactly what it was."
Bryant had an opportunity for a second touchdown, as he took a quick pass from Tony Romo at the Raiders' 7-yard line with 2:35 remaining. He was tackled in one-on-one coverage after a four-yard gain. [embedded_ad]
He said he'll get some grief from wide receivers coach Derek Dooley.
"No doubt, I screwed it up," Bryant said. "I don't know why I didn't keep attacking. I should have kept running outside, and I didn't. I'm going to hear it from Coach Dooley. He's going to keep rewinding it."