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Re-Visiting Dez Bryant's Ranking Of Career TDs, From No. 61 to No. 1

I spent two weeks breaking down and ranking all 61 of Dez Bryant's career touchdowns for the Cowboys. If you missed it, here's the full list in its entirety.


What I'm Calling It:The Bucs Decide Not To Cover Dez
When It Happened:Dec. 17, 2011
Against the:Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Significance:Not really. This score put the Cowboys up, 14-0, in what was a very easy win over a woeful Tampa team.

My Thoughts:About as mundane as it gets. Dez dips behind some zone coverage and finds himself alone for what is essentially a pitch-and-catch with Tony Romo.



What I'm Calling It: Dez Bullies A Corner 1.0
When It Happened:Oct. 5, 2014
Against the:Houston Texans
Significance:This is one of just two touchdowns the Cowboys scored in a 20-17 overtime win, so it's fairly significant. It's significant to the countdown, because this is the first of many times we're going to see Dez beat someone on a jump ball. Let me reiterate: many times.

My Thoughts:Ultimately, not a very impressive play. But this is the essence of Dez being Dez – he is a complete and total mismatch in the end zone for the vast majority of defensive backs in the NFL.



What I'm Calling It:Play Action Pitch & Catch
When It Happened:Dec. 16, 2012
Against the:Pittsburgh Steelers
Significance:Gave Dallas a 17-10 lead in a game that would need overtime. The Cowboys' eventual win kept their playoff hopes alive. It also secured Dez's first double-digit touchdown season.

My Thoughts:The noteworthy part of this is that Dez wasn't even a lock to play, having just broken his finger in the previous week's win against Cincinnati. To come back and make an impact just a week later is commendable. That said, it's a pretty straightforward touchdown. Dez beats Keenan Lewis handily on a play action fake, and it's simple work from there.


What I'm Calling It: Dez Bullies A Corner 2.0
When It Happened:Oct. 6, 2013
Against the:Denver Broncos
Significance:This would be the first touchdown of a game that featured 99 combined points – a score-a-minute shootout the Cowboys eventually lost.

My Thoughts:Remember when I said to get familiar with this play? Looks pretty similar, doesn't it? This time it's Denver cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie who gets victimized, as he can't cope with Dez's size or physicality.



What I'm Calling It: Back on Track
When It Happened: Nov. 22, 2015
Against the:Miami Dolphins
Significance:Innocuous though it may seem, this was the franchise-best 50th touchdown connection between Tony Romo and Dez Bryant – passing Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin's mark of 49. It also gave Dallas a fourth quarter lead in one of just four wins last year – not to mention one of just three games that Dez and Romo played in together.

My Thoughts:Not much to it. Dez found himself matched up with rookie linebacker Neville Hewitt, and the rest was history. Easy separation and a fairly simple touchdown.



What I'm Calling It: Dez Bullies a Corner 3.0
When It Happened:Oct. 14, 2012
Against the:Baltimore Ravens
Significance:Dez cuts Baltimore's lead to 31-29 with just 31 seconds to play, but the Cowboys missed the two-point conversion in an eventual loss.

My Thoughts:Ho-hum, Dez bullies another cornerback on a jump ball in the end zone – this time it's Cary Williams. Now, I'll admit: this one is a step up from the previous two, partially due to outstanding coverage by Williams.


What I'm Calling It: Did I Stutter?
When It Happened:Nov. 18, 2012
Against the:Cleveland Browns
Significance:No disrespect to Dez, but it's worth noting that Cleveland Pro Bowl cornerback Joe Haden sat out of this matchup with an oblique injury. In his place, Sheldon Brown drew the unenviable task of guarding Bryant – and he didn't quite measure up.

My Thoughts:He finished with an absurd 12 catches for 145 yards. The stutter-step catches Brown completely off guard, and Dez is well behind the coverage by the time the defense accounts for him.



What I'm Calling It:Dez Bullies A Corner, Freezer Bowl Edition
When It Happened:Dec. 9, 2013
Against the:Chicago Bears
Significance:Two memories stand out: firstly, it was stupid-cold. Like, literally zero degrees. Secondly, Bears backup quarterback Josh McCown was stupid-hot. He bullied the Dallas secondary for 348 yards.

My Thoughts:The fourth backshoulder ball on our countdown – against a well-respected corner in Tim Jennings. The coverage is great, but Jennings can't even stop Dez from making the catch as he goes to ground.


What I'm Calling It: Dez Boxes Out
When It Happened: Oct. 2, 2011
Against the: Detroit Lions
Significance: Does this sound hauntingly familiar? This catch put the Cowboys up, 14-0, in a game they would eventually lose, 34-30. The early years of Dez's career are littered with blown leads and shootout losses.

My Thoughts:At first glimpse, it seems like we're looking at our fifth jump ball already on this countdown – but not quite. It might have been Romo's intention to let Dez go get this, but instead it much more resembles a curl route. What's impressive is that Dez makes the catch on the edge of the end zone, and then he just backs Detroit corner Eric Wright into the paint.


What I'm Calling It:Cruz'n to the End Zone
When It Happened:Dec. 11, 2011
Against the:New York Giants
Significance:This was Dez's only catch in the game, and it went for 50 yards and a score. It also gave Dallas a 12-point lead with 5:41 to play – in a game the Cowboys still managed to lose.

My Thoughts:The play itself is pretty straightforward – the safety help anticipates a post route and tries to jump it, only for Dez to turn out of the fake for an easy touchdown. The best thing about the play, in my opinion, is that Dez celebrated the score by doing Victor Cruz's famous salsa dance. I always give out bonus points for trash talk.


What I'm Calling It:Postal Service
When It Happened:Dec. 9, 2012
Against the:Cincinnati Bengals
Significance:Cut Cinci's 19-10 lead to 19-17, which set the stage for Dan Bailey to win the game on a 40-yard field goal as time expired.

My Thoughts:This touchdown came right after Dez broke his finger working against Pacman Jones – so again, many kudos for toughness. On the flip side, I think it illustrates far more of Tony Romo's abilities than Dez Bryant's. Dez beats his man and gets past the safety help into the end zone. But Romo's anticipation, not to mention the blistering pace he puts on the ball, are what make this whole thing happen.


What I'm Calling It:Beat Pat Pete
When It Happened:Dec. 4, 2011
Against the:Arizona Cardinals
Significance:Gave Dallas a 10-3 lead just before halftime. The Cowboys would lose in overtime on a 52-yard connection between Kevin Kolb and LaRod Stephens-Howling.

My Thoughts:The play itself isn't exactly quality, but the opponent in question certainly is. Dez is being covered by one of the game's premier cornerbacks in Patrick Peterson, and he quite simply slips behind him for an easy score. It's honestly not too remarkable, but any time you beat one of the NFL's shutdown corners, it bears mentioning.


What I'm Calling It:Get Off Me 1.0
When It Happened:Oct. 25, 2010
Against the:New York Giants
Significance:Behold, the first touchdown from Dez's rookie season makes its appearance on the countdown. This is actually the third of three touchdowns he would score in his career debut against the Giants. It's also one of just nine career touchdowns he's caught from a quarterback not named Tony Romo. In this case it's Jon Kitna, playing while Romo sat out with his first broken collarbone.

My Thoughts:Favorite aspects of the play: most importantly, it came on a 4th-and-1. Secondly, the way Corey Webster tries – and fails – to wrap Dez up is fantastic.


What I'm Calling It:Dez Answers Odell
When It Happened:Nov. 23, 2014
Against the:New York Giants
Significance:This score gave Dallas a 24-21 lead in the third quarter of an instant classic. And of course, what Dez did for an encore will show up later in the countdown.

Dez Factor:This game will forever be known – in my mind at least – as "The Night Dez & Odell Burned It All Down." This play, of course, came about an hour after Odell Beckham Jr. broke the Internet with a one-handed, 43-yard touchdown catch over Brandon Carr. Bryant's answer is nowhere near as impressive, but it still reminded the viewing audience that the Cowboys possess a pretty good receiver, as well.


What I'm Calling It: *Corner Score
When It Happened:
Nov. 20, 2011
Against the:Washington Redskins
Significance:Put Dallas up, 7-0, in the first quarter of a game the Cowboys would win, 27-24.

My Thoughts:This is the first of Bryant's seven career touchdowns against Washington, and certainly not his most impressive – not by a long shot. DeAngelo Hall is backed way off the line, and he doesn't have the slightest idea what Dez is trying to do until the route is five yards behind him. Just like the previous play, there aren't a lot of defensive backs in the league who are going to be able to force Dez Bryant out of bounds before he can cross the goal line. Not even a guy as big as LaRon Landry can do much about that.


What I'm Calling It:Dez For Heisman
When It Happened:Dec. 2, 2012
Against the:Philadelphia Eagles
Significance:Oh, hey! It's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie again! This is his second appearance on the countdown – and on his second team.

My Thoughts:Watch the replay, and it's obvious that this was originally supposed to be a called run. The offensive fires off off into run blocks, while DeMarco Murray prepares to take the hand off. Unbeknownst to them, Tony Romo has seen Dez being single-covered by Rodgers-Cromartie, who is backed six yards off the line. Unfortunately for DRC, he gives up roughly 30 pounds of weight to Bryant. That should be pretty obvious, given the way Dez bulldozes him into the end zone from six yards away.


What I'm Calling It:Dez Bullies A Corner 5.0
When It Happened:Sept. 14, 2014
Against the:Tennessee Titans
Significance:The first of Dez's 16 receiving touchdowns in 2014 – a single-season franchise record.

My Thoughts:Our first backshoulder ball of the second entry – and the fifth in total. This time it's Blidi Wreh-Wilson who doesn't have an answer for Dez's physicality. It's almost like watching an NBA center back a shooting guard into the paint for an easy basket. I'm not sure what else a cornerback is supposed to do, but that doesn't make it any less fun to watch.


What I'm Calling It:In Which the Eagles Decide Not to Tackle
When It Happened:Dec. 2, 2012
Against the:Philadelphia Eagles
Significance:The Cowboys trailed the Eagles, 17-10, at halftime and outscored them, 28-16, after the break – starting with this broken play.

My Thoughts:This one would be higher on the list if the Eagles' defense wasn't so mind-bogglingly inept. Everything is set up for Dez to make an insane play. Tony Romo escapes to his right, reverses courses and then chucks it back to Dez on his left. Dez showcases his underrated speed in racing up the field toward the goal line. But right when he looks poised to bowl over three or four different tacklers, Philadelphia's defense just kind of stops. At least four, if not five or six Philly defenders are in position to make a play on Bryant. Literally none of them do. Dez waltzes in for the touchdown, making a promising play look relatively mundane. For shame, Eagles.


What I'm Calling It:Rope A Dope
When It Happened:Dec. 23, 2012
Against the:New Orleans Saints
Significance:The main thing I'll always remember about this game is the way it ended, when Marques Colston fumbled at the Dallas 24-yard line in overtime and Jimmy Graham recovered a whacky, bouncing ball near the goal line.

My Thoughts:Earlier this spring, the Cowboys had interest in free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson, whose services were for sale after a stint in San Diego. Cowboys fans were clamoring for the team to sign Robinson, and all I could think was: "y'all mean the guy that Dez did this to?" Robinson's missteps against Bryant are so bad that this almost looks like a blooper reel. To use another basketball analogy, it's almost like watching a sick cross-over that breaks the defender's ankles. Let's keep the analogy going and call it what it is: Robinson getting posterized. And he's far from the only defensive back who will suffer that fate.


What I'm Calling It:Jumpman
When It Happened:Sept. 15, 2013
Against the:Kansas City Chiefs
Significance:Dez shows off every bit of his 38-inch vertical abilities for his first touchdown of 2013.

My Thoughts:The coverage from Brandon Flowers isn't particularly impressive, but Bryant's leap to come down with the ball certainly is. It's funny how Dez is neither the tallest nor the highest-jumping receiver in the league, but he sure as hell looks like it when he goes up like that.


What I'm Calling It:Bracket Busted
When It Happened:Oct. 27, 2013
Against the:Detroit Lions
*Significance: *This game featured so many haymakers. This came just two plays after Detroit cut the Cowboys' lead to 20-17, extending the margin back to 10 points. But what happened? You guessed it. The Cowboys lost – largely thanks to the Lions' 488 passing yards.

My Thoughts:Typically, when an NFL defense decides to take a receiver away, it can do so by employing various types of double coverage. You can see the Lions try valiantly here, with a cornerback and a safety bracketing Bryant on his way down the field. Problem is, Rashean Mathis and Louis Delmas both misjudge Tony Romo's throw – which leaves them both lying on the ground and Dez racing toward the end zone.


What I'm Calling It:Poor Bradley Fletcher 1.0
When It Happened:Dec. 14, 2014
Against the:Philadelphia Eagles
Significance:Gave Dallas a commanding 21-0 lead in a game that would help decide the NFC East.

My Thoughts:At some point during their preparations for a crucial divisional matchup against the Cowboys, the Philadelphia Eagles decided they'd have Bradley Fletcher single-cover Dez Bryant. It's fair to say that was bad idea, given that Bryant finished the night with six catches for 114 yards and a career-best three touchdowns.


What I'm Calling It:Poor Bradley Fletcher 2.0
When It Happened:Dec. 14, 2014
Against the:Philadelphia Eagles
Significance:Philly stormed back to take a 24-21 lead, but the Cowboys answered the call. Bryant's third posterizing of Fletcher put Dallas on top, 35-24.

My Thoughts:I decided to put these plays back-to-back, just to showcase how hilariously similar they are. The Cowboys liked the result of the first one so much, they tried it again – and the Eagles responded by not really changing a whole lot. We'll call that a questionable decision, at best. There are other reasons why the Eagles lost, 38-27, but Fletcher's ineptitude against Dez is the lasting image of the game.


What I'm Calling It: All By Myself
When It Happened:Sept. 21, 2014
Against the:St. Louis Rams
Significance:Dallas fell into a 21-0 hole, but this play helped dig them out of it. Coming just after halftime, it cut the St. Louis lead to 21-17.

My Thoughts:For the briefest of moments, Rams safety Rodney McLeod had to have thought he was the smartest guy at the Edward Jones Dome. He didn't bite on the play action fake, he read Tony Romo's eyes, and he broke toward Terrance Williams for what surely would have been a big-time collision – or maybe an interception. Unfortunately for McLeod, in doing so he left Dez Bryant all alone 10 yards behind him. Having successfully faked out the defense, Romo uncorked a long bomb to Bryant – who was literally all alone. When Dez slows up to catch this pass at the St. Louis 20-yard line, the nearest defender is nine yards away. You're not supposed to be this wide open in the NFL. Special shouts out to Janoris Jenkins for getting so confused by Dez that he literally turns himself all the way around.


What I'm Calling It:Consolation Points
When It Happened:Nov. 2, 2014
Against the:Arizona Cardinals
Significance:The only touchdown connection between Dez and Brandon Weeden.

My Thoughts:On the surface, this looks like a far better catch. Dez once again goes one-on-one against Patrick Peterson, and he posterizes him in the back corner of the end zone for six points. The problem is that context is important. Dez caught this ball with 1:08 remaining in a total beatdown at the hands of the Cardinals. The game was all but decided by halftime, as Brandon Weeden struggled to cope with Arizona's swarming defense. Still a great play, but that puts a damper on it.


What I'm Calling It:Shake & Bake
When It Happened:Sept. 29, 2013
Against the:San Diego Chargers
Significance:Gave Dallas a 14-10 lead over the Chargers. Moments later, a Sean Lee pick-six would put the Cowboys up, 21-10, heading into halftime. And they'd still find a way to lose the game.

My Thoughts:So many of Dez's touchdowns happen in the end zone that it's always refreshing to see a run after the catch. That's exactly what we've got here, as he makes light work of Derek Cox. He catches the ball 18 yards away from the end zone, with Cox hot on his trail and two linebackers giving chase. The fact that he managed to take this in for a touchdown – relatively easily, I might add – is a testament to the fact that Bryant can do far more than just catch jump balls.


What I'm Calling It: Days in the East
When It Happened:Oct. 25, 2010
Against the:New York Giants
Significance:Another consolation touchdown – and in an abysmal game. Tony Romo exited with a broken collar bone, which really put a damper on a three-touchdown performance from Dez. This one came at the start of the fourth quarter, helping to cut New York's lead to 38-28.

My Thoughts:I guess this one isn't *that *impressive, but I like it. Dez takes the short hitch and stiff arms Terrell Thomas out of his way – twice. Thomas makes a diving effort as Dez nears the end zone, but that gets shaken off too. I guess I just enjoy that Dez is still fighting this hard to get into the end zone in a game that looks all but decided.


What I'm Calling It:The Start of an Era
When It Happened:Sept. 19, 2010
Against the:Chicago Bears
Significance:The very first touchdown of Dez Bryant's pro career.

My Thoughts:Go figure that one of the most prolific receivers in Cowboys history would score his first touchdown as a punt returner. The play itself is really nice, but I'd argue that it's more a product of great blocking than any spectacular moves by Dez. He does juke the punter, which is always hilarious.


What I'm Calling It:Foreshadowing
When It Happened:Oct. 2, 2011
Against the:Detroit Lions
Significance:We saw Dez's second touchdown from this game back in Part. This one put Dallas up, 7-0, in an eventual loss.

My Thoughts:I really hate to bring this up, but this catch reminds me so much of the infamous playoff controversy in Green Bay. It might even be the same play. Tony Romo is lined up in the shotgun, he's got the slot receiver underneath and Dez running a "go" route. So much of this play looks similar – except the coverage is nowhere near as good. Detroit corner Chris Houston is not on Sam Shields' level, and Dez makes the jumping catch without going to ground. This play is essentially what the Green Bay play could have looked like in an ideal scenario. Sorry for ruining your day.


What I'm Calling It:Buying Time
When It Happened:Dec. 22, 2013
Against the:Washington Redskins
Significance:Dallas had to have this win to keep their playoff hopes alive heading into the season finale, and they got it. Dez put the Cowboys up, 14-6, heading into halftime.

My Thoughts:Once again, I've got to give the bulk of the credit to Tony Romo for this one. This play would be dead in the water if Romo doesn't spin to avoid a zero blitz from cornerback E.J. Biggers – who whiffs. Dez, meanwhile, breaks out of a corner route when he sees Romo is in trouble, and that's where Romo finds him running free toward the goal post. Credit where it's due: Dez once again proves he's got hops by going up to get a tough ball.


What I'm Calling It:Fade To Black
When It Happened:Sept. 28, 2014
Against the:New Orleans Saints
Significance:This is when I first thought the 2014 Cowboys might be better than expected. The Saints were considered playoff contenders heading into this Sunday Night Football matchup, and the Cowboys smashed them, 38-17.

My Thoughts:Keenan Lewis makes his second appearance on the countdown – and for a second team. He joins Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on that distinguished list. The thing I dig about this play is that Dez essentially wins twice on the same snap. The backshoulder fade is underthrown and Dez adjusts to catch it at the four-yard line. Despite breaking too late on the throw, Lewis still has a chance to force Bryant out of bounds, and he can't quite do it.


What I'm Calling It:Leaving Revis Island
When It Happened:Dec. 19, 2015
Against the:New York Jets
Significance:Noteworthy for being one of just a handful of legitimately awesome plays during an otherwise awful season. Also Dez's only career touchdown (so far) from Kellen Moore.

My Thoughts:Moore gets the ball to Dez quickly, and he proceeds to make Darrelle Revis look positively foolish. After completely dodging one of the best corners in the game, Dez collides with second-year safety Calvin Pryor – and simply shakes him off. He winds up getting tackled by former NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year Sheldon Richardson – well after he's reached the end zone. The dude essentially punked half the Jets' defense despite playing on a bum foot. Not too shabby.


What I'm Calling It:We're All Witnesses
When It Happened:Oct. 23, 2011
Against the:St. Louis Rams
Significance:The icing on the cake in a 34-7 beatdown. DeMarco Murray set the single-game rushing record with a 253-yard rushing performance.

My Thoughts:To help me research for this story, my esteemed friend and colleague, Bryan Broaddus, sat down with me and watched all 61 of these plays. When we got to this one we said "Ehhh, yeah it's good. But it's not one of his best." Can we just reflect on how absurd that is for a second? Dez Bryant schools tight man coverage and makes a fully extended, diving touchdown grab in the end zone, and I'm here to tell you that it's only his No. 29 touchdown? And he capped it off by doing the LeBron James chalk toss? Everything about this is dumb and insane and awesome.


What I'm Calling It:On the Board
When It Happened:Oct. 17, 2010
Against the:Minnesota Vikings
Significance:Five games into his NFL career, Dez catches his first NFL touchdown reception. Dallas would ultimately lose, 24-21.

My Thoughts:It's pretty surreal to go back and watch the very first touchdown catch of what has been such a distinguished career. Honestly, the fact that Dez's first score was as impressive as this is a pretty telling indicator of what's to come. My favorite part of this play? The cornerback Dez convincingly beats is Lito Sheppard – a former first-round draft pick and two-time Pro Bowler. Dez was 13 years old when Sheppard was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles. Life comes at you fast, Lito.


What I'm Calling It:Do the Fade Away/Dez Bullies a Corner 6.0
When It Happened:Nov. 21, 2010
Against the:Detroit Lions
Significance:Dez plays his part in helping Jason Garrett earn the full-time head coaching gig with the Cowboys. This was Garrett's second game in charge, and his second-straight win. The Cowboys went 3-1 during his interim tenure, leading to him being named head coach after the 2010 season.

My Thoughts:Chris Houston appears in the countdown for the second time, and my word he looks like he could use a friend. If Dez doesn't come down with this touchdown, I have to assume there'd be a flag for defensive pass interference. Houston makes no effort to look back for the ball, jostling Bryant the whole way. When Houston is done tumbling helplessly to the ground, he looks over – dejectedly – to see that Dez is celebrating. "This Bryant kid is pretty good," says the grumpy Cowboys fan to himself.


What I'm Calling It:"Hey Mike!"/ Dez Bullies a Corner 7.0
When It Happened:Nov. 28, 2013
Against the:Oakland Raiders
Significance:Erased a seven-point Oakland lead, tying this Thanksgiving game at 21-21. After falling behind, 21-7, the Cowboys outscored the Raiders, 24-3, down the stretch.

My Thoughts:I'll be honest – the main reason I ranked this so highly is because I think it's funny that Dez did this to his former teammate, Mike Jenkins. From 2010-12, Jenkins saw this firsthand at Cowboys practices. Problem is, when Dez wins a one-on-one matchup in training camp, it isn't in front of 85,000 fans and another 30 million on TV.


What I'm Calling It:Cr-ohhhhhhhhhhhh-martie/ Dez Bullies a Corner 8.0
When It Happened:Sept. 11, 2011
Against the:New York Jets
Significance:This game was played in New York on the 10-year anniversary of 9/11 – an important occasion if ever there was one.

My Thoughts:Antonio Cromartie is one of the most decorated cornerbacks of the last 10 years, and he doesn't fare much better here than any of the dozen other guys who have tried to matchup with Dez on a jump ball. My favorite part is after the play itself, when Cromartie turns around to see if the pass was completed, and then just abruptly turns around and walks away.


What I'm Calling It:Mama, There Goes That Man/ Dez Bullies a Corner 9.0
When It Happened:Sept. 22, 2013
Against the:St. Louis Rams
Significance:Dez set the tone for a game the Rams were never a part of. This gave them a 7-0 lead in a 31-7 win.

My Thoughts:This dude needs a heat check. We're on a four-play run of Dez just dunking on dudes all over the NFL. This one tickles me because Cortland Finnegan looks so small and helpless. He literally gets shoved to the ground like he was going against Tyron Smith. It reminds me of that old Nike ad with Dwyane Wade.

In this instance, I'm the dorky version of Dwyane Wade yelling "Do it again! Do it again!"


What I'm Calling It:Get Off Me 2.0
When It Happened:Dec. 29, 2013
Against the:Philadelphia Eagles
Significance:In this moment, I was convinced the Cowboys were going to squeak into the playoffs. Dez ripped off a 32-yard touchdown with 3:50 to play in the season finale, cutting Philly's lead to 24-22. I thought Dallas would get the two-point conversion, get the ball back and kick a game-winning field goal. Only one of those three things happened. The Cowboys got the ball back after failing on the two-point try, but Kyle Orton threw a season-ending pick.

My Thoughts:This game quiets the notion that Bryant can't be successful without Tony Romo. He caught eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown from Orton in a win-or-go home game. It's really not an overly spectacular play, but I give extra credit for the fact that Bryant broke a tackle and housed this one – at a time when the Cowboys really needed a big play.


What I'm Calling It:This Is How You Remind Me
When It Happened:Nov. 7, 2010
Against the:Green Bay Packers
Significance:Literally the only Cowboys highlight of the game that got Wade Phillips fired. Green Bay crushed Dallas, 45-7, dropping the Cowboys to 1-7 – and dropping Phillips out of the job.

My Thoughts:Oh god, no. It's Dez going against Sam Shields at Lambeau Field, in lousy, cold weather. This is a stupendous play by Dez – making the falling away catch over fantastic coverage, even in a one-sided game. But really, all I can think about when I see Dez playing at Lambeau Field is the 2014 playoffs. I'm sorry I ruined your day again.


What I'm Calling It:The Say Hey Kid
When It Happened:Oct. 25, 2010
Against the:New York Giants
Significance:Dez's second – and to date, final – punt return touchdown. It gave Dallas a 20-7 lead against the Giants, which they eventually blew in a 41-35 loss.

My Thoughts:What springs to mind when I see Dez race back to the 10-yard line and field this punt over his shoulder is Willie Mays' iconic basket catch in the 1954 World Series. Is that a bit of an exaggeration? Yes, but it's my countdown and I don't care. Matt Dodge absolutely crushed this punt, and Dez reacts beautifully. He gets back to field it, reads his blocks beautifully – and then he high steps toward the end zone ala Deion Sanders. This is swagger of the highest order, even if it honestly falls short of one of baseball's greatest players.


What I'm Calling It:Dez Is Right, Ref Is Wrong
When It Happened:Nov. 14, 2010
Against the:New York Giants
Significance:One week after the removal of Wade Phillips, Bryant tallied three catches for 104 yards and this touchdown to help Jason Garrett get his first career win as the coach of the Cowboys.

My Thoughts:In his ninth career NFL game, Dez Bryant skies over a veteran corner and comes away with an absurdly difficult catch – and then the referee rules it incomplete. What does the timid rookie do? He says "No freakin' way, dude" and sets about correcting the injustice. Just days after his 22nd birthday, he's running over to the sideline, demanding the Cowboys challenge the call. He's obviously right, and the play is correctly ruled as a touchdown. Nice try, stripes. Go steal somebody else's touchdown – Dez Bryant isn't gonna stand for that nonsense.


What I'm Calling It:Zero to One Hundred
When It Happened:Oct. 14, 2012
Against the:Baltimore Ravens
Significance:The first touchdown of Dez's third season. He started slow in 2012, with just two touchdowns in his first eight games, but he rebounded to finish with 12 on the year. This is the second time we've seen him victimize Cary Williams on this countdown – both from the same game.

My Thoughts:Everything that's happening here seems to suggest that this is going to be a relatively boring highlight. It's 1st-and-7, Tony Romo drops back and chunks another ball up to Dez. History suggests we're in for a routine play, right? Well, no. This thing goes from mundane to jaw-dropping pretty quick. For starters, Romo puts the ball where the receiver is the only one with a prayer of catching it – and honestly, 90 percent of NFL receivers probably don't have a shot. In an instant, Dez swings his entire body around, repositions himself for an entirely different type of catch, lays out and drags his feet along the side of the end zone. He does all that despite having Cary Williams draped over him. This is honestly one of the sneaky-best catches on the entire list, but it lacks the flash of some of the heavyweights.


What I'm Calling It:Poor Bradley Fletcher 3.0
When It Happened:Dec. 14, 2014
Against the:Philadelphia Eagles
Significance:Gave Dallas a 14-0 lead in its eventual 38-27 win against Philly, putting the Cowboys in prime position to win the NFC East.

My Thoughts:Fun juxtaposition: this was the first of Dez's three touchdowns against Poor Bradley Fletcher that night, but it's the last one we'll see on this countdown. It's Vintage Dez – head for the end zone, find the ball, go get the ball. The reason I'm ranking it so highly is because it looks so utterly dominant. This shot the Cowboys out to a two-possession lead in a big-time game, and Dez made it look positively easy despite Fletcher's desperate attempt to get in the way. The best part is probably at the end, when Dez holds the ball one-handed, effortlessly back in Fletcher's direction. "Did you want this?"


What I'm Calling It:Turkey Trot
When It Happened:Nov. 22, 2012
Against the:Washington Redskins
Significance:Helped jumpstart a Dallas rally in a game the Redskins were dominating, 28-6, at the time. The Cowboys fell behind, 28-3, in the first half, but they outscored Washington, 28-10, after the break. It wasn't enough to win, but Bryant's 145-yard, two-touchdown performance demonstrated his ability to take over a game.

My Thoughts:Good God does this kid have some wheels. It's unfair to say this about a world class-caliber athlete, but you just don't think of Dez as a speedy receiver in the mold of an Antonio Brown – and then you see him do something like this. It's classic Tony Romo improvisation, and he does well to place the ball just beyond Josh Wilson's outstretched hands. Once Dez gets the ball, though, it looks like a track meet. Three different Washington DB's are in position to make a tackle, and they all look utterly unprepared for Bryant's horsepower. It's not going to be the last time we see that.


What I'm Calling It:Get Behind Me, Redskin
When It Happened:Dec. 28, 2014
Against the:Washington Redskins
Significance:Tied Terrell Owens' franchise record for receiving touchdowns in a single season and gave the Cowboys a lead they wouldn't relinquish in a 44-17 blowout – a win that secured their 12-4 record.

My Thoughts:There's so much to love about this. For the sake of context, keep in mind that DeSean Jackson had just embarrassed the Dallas defense on a 69-yard touchdown catch to give Washington a 7-3 lead. This game meant virtually nothing to the Cowboys' playoff chances, as they has secured the division title the week before. And yet, four plays after Jackson's score, Dez put David Amerson through the spin cycle and tore off toward the end zone. Again, you see his deceptive speed at work, as he rips off 60 yards uncontested. Just for good measure, though, he stiff arms E.J. Biggers into the dirt just shy of the end zone. Underrated part of the play: Tony Romo starts celebrating as soon as Dez dusts Amerson, back on his own 37-yard line. No one was going to deny the Cowboys during that hot stretch in December 2014, and Dez saw to that personally.


What I'm Calling It:The 30-Minute Touchdown Catch
When It Happened:Nov. 23, 2014
Against the:New York Giants
Significance:Game-winning catch in the classic Sunday Night Football game that featured Odell Beckham's famous one-handed catch. Gave Dallas an 8-3 record heading into a pivotal Thanksgiving showdown against Philadelphia. Also gave Cowboys fans worldwide a perfect retort when faced with footage of Beckham's heroics.

My Thoughts: I told y'all Dez's second touchdown in this game would be showing up, and I put it this high for sheer drama. No, it's not the most amazing catch ever, but it came with roughly one minute to play in regulation, helping secure the Cowboys' 31-28 win after they fell behind, 21-10. As the title indicates, the offensive line gave Tony Romo something like 14 years to throw the ball. With that kind of time and space, Romo sees Bryant moving across the back of the end zone and throws it where his playmaker can go get it.


What I'm Calling It:Weapon X
When It Happened:Nov. 22, 2012
Against the:Washington Redskins
Significance:Cut the Redskins' lead to 35-28 in the classic Thanksgiving game we mentioned earlier. More importantly, I believe this is the first known instance of Dez throwing up the "X" – his famous touchdown celebration.

My Thoughts: 4th-and-4 with less than 10 minutes remaining, and Dallas trails by multiple possessions. It's a must-have play, and Bryant isn't going to be denied. It's hard to even criticize the coverage, as Josh Wilson is right where he's supposed to be – he even reaches his hand in to break up the pass without interfering. Not like it matters. Much like the Baltimore play from earlier, Dez readjusts to get away from his man, then hauls in a catch that is much more difficult than it looks. The icing on the cake is the "X." Dez is visibly excited – unusual for him, I know – and crosses his arms in front of him. I have watched all 61 of these plays dozens of times, and this is the earliest known instance I can find Dez throwing up his trademark celebration. That counts for big-time bonus points, considering that the celebration has become ubiquitous for both Dez and the Cowboys' fanbase. Is this the birth of a phenomenon? The only person who might know for sure is probably Dez, and he isn't returning my texts.


What I'm Calling It:Dez Bullies a Corner 10.0 aka How Is This So Low?
When It Happened:Sept. 29, 2013
Against the:San Diego Chargers
Significance:Tied the game, 7-7, early in the second quarter. Dallas would lose, 30-21, after taking a 21-10 lead.

My Thoughts:The title says it all. Am I an unhinged lunatic for having this ranked outside the top 10, or is Dez's resume really that absurd? Richard Marshall isn't remotely interested in playing defense, as he holds and hand fights with Dez all the way into the end zone. Once the ball gets to its target, though, Marshall does the same thing as his predecessors – he flails wildly at the ball and then watches dejectedly while Dez steps over him like a navy-clad Allen Iverson. It's got to be so demoralizing to know exactly what's going to happen and be powerless to stop it. Richard Marshall is like a well-constructed sandcastle, and Dez Bryant is the tide.


What I'm Calling It:Get Off Me 3.0 aka Get All The Way Off Me
When It Happened:Dec. 23, 2012
Against the:New Orleans Saints
Significance:The second of Dez's touchdowns that day, it gave him 12 scores on the year.

My Thoughts:Mere moments after getting posterized one-on-one, Patrick Robinson is back for another helping. It's not any prettier this time, as Robinson stumbles reacting to Bryant's slant. His half-hearted tackle attempt reminds me of when little kids hang on their dad's legs while he's trying to walk around the house. That's all well and good, but the best part of the play comes when Darren Sharper tries to clean up Robinson's mistakes. Sharper was a formidable safety for many years in the league, but Dez shakes him off with an ease that seems to suggest he's saying "Get off me, you horrific bum of a loser." Two broken tackles, six easy points.


What I'm Calling It:Heel-Toe
When It Happened:Oct. 6, 2013
Against the:Denver Broncos
Significance:The first of 12 total touchdowns that would be scored in the ridiculous 51-48 shootout that Denver won at AT&T Stadium back in 2013. Dez finished the day with 141 yards and two scores.

My Thoughts:Phil Simms' reaction to this play is absolutely hilarious. He starts out impressed, but you can tell he's not convinced it's a catch. "Toes in, but if his heels hit the ground, he would be out of bounds," Simms says. CBS dutifully shows several replays, and Simms' analysis changes from "It doesn't look like the heels come down" to "oh, they come down in bounds." By the time the magnificence of the catch sinks in on the former quarterback, all he can muster is "Oh, that's …" in this wonderfully dazed tone of voice. I know where you're coming from, Phil. Also, a side note: I think this might be the most overlooked of all of Dez's circus catches, and my theory is that's it because it came at the beginning of such an insane game. Not to mention, it was a totally heartbreaking loss for the Cowboys. I assume fans have tried to block out a lot of memories from this one, and I don't blame them.


What I'm Calling It: Dave is Stupid
When It Happened:Nov. 13, 2011
Against the:Buffalo Bills
Significance:Opened the scoring in an absolute whitewashing of a bad Buffalo team. Bryant scored this touchdown just three minutes into the game, the Cowboys led 28-7 at halftime and wound up winning by a score of 44-7. If this had happened in a closer game, it'd be higher up the list.

My Thoughts: I love this touchdown. I absolutely love it. It's got all the hallmarks of a classic Dez touchdown – abusing his man, outjumping the competition, fantastic hand strength – except it happens from *much *farther away than usual. It'd be one thing if Tony Romo lofted this thing up from the 6-yard line, but Dez manages all of this from 34 yards out. Leodis McKelvin even plays it perfectly! I mean, the guy gets his hands on the ball, and Dez is basically just like "Ha. No, peasant." Watch McKelvin when the play is over, as he angrily claps his hands together. What else is the poor dude supposed to do? It's an absolutely gorgeous play, and I feel like an idiot for having it as low as No. 10. This might be the one that haunts me the most on the entire countdown.


What I'm Calling It: In Which DRC Strikes Out
When It Happened:Nov. 11, 2012
Against the:Philadelphia Eagles
Significance:With the Cowboys sitting at 4-5, this touchdown tied a crucial division game at 17-17 entering the fourth quarter. Dallas outscored Philadelphia, 21-6, in the fourth quarter and stayed alive in the playoff hunt.

My Thoughts:Third time's a charm, right, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie? Oof, maybe not. DRC actually draws a defensive pass interference flag on the play, which makes Dez's effort here even more amazing. He battles through the holding to get in position – and then he goes nearly parallel to the ground while hauling in the catch. The Eagles challenged the ruling on the field, which allows for closer inspection. I absolutely can't wrap my head around the way that Dez manages to maneuver the ball under his forearm – mid-fall – to limit the amount it moves when he hits the ground. The body control required to tuck this football, while falling, while also being mugged by DRC, is mind-boggling. Dez Bryant is a bad dude, y'all.


What I'm Calling It: Ain't Nothin' Gonna Break My Stride
When It Happened:Dec. 21, 2014
Against the:Indianapolis Colts
Significance:Put the Cowboys on top, 14-0, in a game that would win them the NFC East title.

My Thoughts:There was something so different about the 2014 Dallas Cowboys. The day before this game, the Eagles lost to Washington, giving the Cowboys a chance to clinch the division a week early. Given their recent history, it'd be understandable if you expected them to goof up and lose to Indianapolis – leaving the door open for Philly. What'd they do instead? They absolutely crushed the Colts, jumping out to a 28-0 halftime lead. This play perfectly encapsulates that beatdown, as Dez absolutely skies over Greg Toler and snatches it over his unsuspecting head. Toler's response to this is to drop to the ground like a fainting goat: It's an absolutely vulgar display of power, and Dez caps it off by flinging the football in total mic drop fashion. It's domination totally deserving of a division title.


What I'm Calling It: All Y'all Get All The Way Off Me
When It Happened:Nov. 9, 2014
Against the:Jacksonville Jaguars
Significance:Dez's second jaw-dropping touchdown in the same game. It put Dallas up, 24-7, in an easy win. More importantly, it showcased just how capable Dez Bryant is of completely humiliating a defense.

My Thoughts:Dwayne Gratz probably should have just let Dez win. He was already beaten by a couple of steps on a long-gainer, and the damage was done. Being a proud professional, though, Gatz dove for the tackle, and that's how he wound up getting dragged along the ground like a small child trying to walk a Great Dane. Safety Jonathan Cyprien is the next guy to take a shot, and his attempted tackle looks more like a really awkward hug. Cowboys points: 6, Embarrassed Jaguars: 2.


What I'm Calling It: Thar She Blows
When It Happened:Dec. 15, 2013
Against the:Green Bay Packers
Significance:Gave the Cowboys a 36-24 lead against the Matt Flyn-led Packers – a game they managed to lose after leading, 26-3. I honestly thought at the time that this loss would cost Jason Garrett his job.

My Thoughts:Calvin Johnson will always be Megatron, but this is some straight-up rocket-footed robot stuff right here. It's also classic improvisation. Dez is doubled by Tramon Williams and M.D. Jennings on a simple curl, but he breaks toward the back of the end zone when Tony Romo escapes the pocket. Honestly, the ball looks like it might be intended for Miles Austin – but that's before Dez the Leviathan surfaces from the depths like a damn humpback whale, breaching over the top of Jennings and A.J. Hawk, and then he touches both feet down before not one but two defenders push him out of bounds. Three different Green Bay defenders angrily signal for an incompletion. Nah uh, fellas.


What I'm Calling It: And One
When It Happened:Oct. 27, 2014
Against the:Washington Redskins
Significance:Gave Dallas a 7-3 lead on Monday night football – in an eventual loss. Also the night Tony Romo broke the transverse process in his back and was sidelined for two weeks.

My Thoughts:It's an awfully lofty ranking for a five-yard touchdown, but I don't care. Look at this dude *palm the ball – one handed --­ *on a short-thrown screen from Romo. It's like he's playing with a couple of catcher's mitts on. After he jukes David Amerson (for what feels like the 10th time on this countdown), he takes on a full-shouldered tackle from Ryan Clark – and just literally carries a grown man for the remaining three yards. Clark re-doubles his efforts and eventually brings him down – but not before Dez breaks the plane of the goal line. If this was basketball, Dez is getting a foul shot in addition to the basket. There's no doubt.


What I'm Calling It: Turbo Button
When It Happened:Nov. 9, 2014
Against the:Jacksonville Jaguars
Significance:This was Dez's first touchdown of the Jacksonville game. Combined with Touchdown No. 7 on the countdown, this is probably the best combo of single-game touchdowns in his career.

My Thoughts:I'll never forget sitting next to Bryan Broaddus at Wembley Stadium when Tony Romo threw this short drag route to Dez. I've watched Dez Bryant catch a lot of passes over the years, and this one looked like a straight-forward 8-to-10-yard gain. In this particular instance, though, he kicked things into a gear we just don't normally see. He was off like a cannon, and all of a sudden he was 20 yards down the field. With Dez careening down the sideline like a runaway freight train, there's just no way I'm betting on anyone to tackle him. Credit to the Jags, several of them tried – and they wound up littered around the goal line like bowling pins. I honestly didn't know Dez was capable of a play like this until I saw it live, and it certainly left a lasting impression on me.


What I'm Calling It: The Hurt Vertical
When It Happened:Nov. 8, 2015
Against the:Philadelphia Eagles
Significance:This happened back when Dallas was still (technically) in the playoff hunt, back at 2-5. It tied the game at 21-21 in the fourth quarter, giving brief hope that the Cowboys could snatch a win and put together some positive results before Tony Romo returned to the roster. As you know, none of that happened.

My Thoughts:It's amazing that this is only officially considered an 18-yard completion. Matt Cassel scrambles halfway across the state of Texas before uncorking a prayer from the 35-yard line, and Dez is standing a yard from the back of the end zone. So it's honestly a 44-yard play. Remember that Dez is seven weeks removed from breaking his foot, and he actually suffers a debilitating knee injury while making this catch. Despite those facts, Dez outleaps three different defenders while bringing in one of the toughest catches of his career. The 2015 season didn't have many highlights, but this one stacks up against any of Dez's best moments.


What I'm Calling It: Record-Setter
When It Happened:Dec. 28. 2014
Against the:Washington Redskins
Significance:Set a Cowboys single-season record for receiving touchdowns, with 16. The record had belonged to Terrell Owens. Also capped off a hot streak for Bryant – six touchdowns in the final three games of 2014. December of 2014 was one of the hottest stretches in recent Cowboys history.

My Thoughts:Nobody in the building thought this was a catch in real time – especially not poor David Amerson, who gets beaten by Dez for the 956th time in his career. Maybe y'all think there are better catches on this list, but I'm very partial to this bit of absurdity. This ball travels 30 yards in the air, and Dez has the body control to go up for it, secure it and tap his toe down – literally with mere inches to spare. A play like that requires composure, awareness, agility and a bunch of other ridiculous qualities that I do not possess. I couldn't think of a better way to set a record.


What I'm Calling It: The Boom Box Catch
When It Happened:Oct. 27, 2013
Against the:Detroit Lions
Significance:The Cowboys lost the game, but not before Dez made his best touchdown catch to date.

My Thoughts:This is vintage Dez Bryant in every conceivable way. It's a backshoulder throw from the 5-yard line, and he's facing tight coverage – we've heard it all before. The safety even shades over to help blanket Dez, and it doesn't matter. Maybe you're tired of seeing this catch, because it's arguably his most famous, but it really is that sick. The dude can't even get a full grip on the ball, as it bounces off his left hand. He literally just pins it to his shoulder pads while two NFL defensive backs knock him to the ground. Every time I see the picture of Dez going up for this catch, I think about the boom boxes that were such a big part of the music scene back in the 1980s and 1990s. Dez is hip and Dez has hops – Dez is the youth. He's the most fun thing about watching the Dallas Cowboys play football, and that fact is perfectly illustrated by this, his best touchdown catch.

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