November 24, 2013

Inconsistent Bryant comes through when it matters

Dez Bryant has three timely catches on the game-winning drive.

Dez Bryant left MetLife Stadium happy with the win but disappointed in his play.

“I’m very, very, very, very, very excited about the win,” Bryant said. “As far as my performance, it can be a lot better.

“I hold myself to a high standard. The guys in this locker room do, too. They stayed with me the whole game. Tony kept believing in me. You saw him keep going back to me, and we came out on top tonight.”

The Cowboys made a conscious effort to get the ball to Bryant after Tony Romo targeted the team’s leading receiver only twice in the 32-point loss to the New Orleans Saints. Romo directed 16 passes Bryant’s way Sunday against the New York Giants.

But Bryant had an up-and-down day.

He caught nine passes, including three in the game-winning drive, for 102 yards but had two drops and a fumble.

“Dez is a dynamic player,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. “He makes a lot of plays for us. He has made a lot of plays for us for a long time. He made a bad play in the game [with the fumble], …and Dez is an emotional guy and some how and some way we got him focused on the task at hand.

“The best big-time players play big in the big-time moments, and he had three catches on the last drive, and it appeared he had a fourth catch. But he came up big. He gets a lot of attention from the opposing defense and showed up big on that drive. He did a hell of a job.”

Early in the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys holding a 21-13 lead, Bryant lost a fumble that went backward for a 20-yard loss. It left the Cowboys in a third-and-30 pickle.

Bryant was visibly upset when he returned to the bench, with defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and receivers coach Derek Dooley trying to console him.

“I was heartbroken,” Bryant said. “Our mindset was to come out and execute plays, dominate. I kind of started off slow, but I didn’t get too down on myself. I had to keep myself together because those guys were believing in me, and I was believing in me. I had to keep my composure and go out there and play my game.”

After the Giants tied the game at 21, Romo looked for Bryant four times in what turned into a 64-yard, game-winning drive. Bryant had catches of 19, 5 and 8, with the first two converting third downs.

Bryant had what appeared to be a 22-yard reception to the New York 6-yard line with 1:25 left, but officials ruled Bryant didn’t complete the catch before losing control.

Still, he didenough, helping the Cowboys return home winners.

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