Dez Bryant’s catch streak almost ended. He probably would have preferred it had ended than what happened.
Bryant caught his first pass of the game on third down with 2:13 remaining, but Janoris Jenkins forced a fumble and Landon Collins recovered.
Of little consolation, Bryant extended his catch streak to 83 consecutive games. The last time Bryant didn’t catch a pass was Nov. 25, 2010 — his rookie season — in a game against the Saints.
“It was just an unfortunate situation. I’m at a loss for words,” Bryant said. “I can’t believe it came out, but it did. We made too many mistakes and it cost us.”
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Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott targeted Bryant nine times.
Tight end Jason Witten’s franchise-record catch streak of 130 consecutive games ended last week against the Vikings.
Zeke’s bounce back
Ezekiel Elliott opened his professional career with a dud against the New York Giants.
The fourth overall pick had only 51 yards on 20 carries in his NFL debut, admitting it was “average” afterward.
But Elliott has made strides throughout his rookie season and surpassed his rushing total in the first half in a rematch against the Giants. Elliott had 15 carries for 86 yards, averaging 5.7 yards in the first half.
He averaged just 2.55 yards a carry in the first meeting.
Elliott finished the game with 107 yards on 24 carries, his first 100-yard performance since Week 10 at Pittsburgh.
“I think I did all right,” Elliott said. “I think I had a decent game. But that’s not what it’s about. It’s about this end result and we didn’t win, so we’ve got to go back to the drawing board.”
Dan Bailey had not missed since Oct. 2 at San Francisco when, after he woke up with a stiff back, he was wide left on a 47-yarder. But on a cold, windy night, 55 was out of Bailey’s range.
He knew it, too, telling NBC sideline reporter Michele Tafoya that 53 yards was his range in both directions.
Bailey’s 55-yard try on the final play of the first half hit the crossbar.
The NFL’s all-time most accurate kicker now is 24 of 33 on field goals of 50-plus yards.
The miss left the Cowboys holding a 7-0 halftime lead.
Rolling the dice
Jason Garrett continues to roll the dice, gambling on a fourth-and-1 play early in Sunday’s game.
On their second drive, the Cowboys had a chance to go three-and-out. But from their own 42, the Cowboys opted to go for it. Ezekiel Elliott gained 2 yards behind right guard Zack Martin and right tackle Doug Free.
Six plays later, the Cowboys scored the only touchdown in the first half.
The Cowboys were 8-for-8 on fourth down this season until a last-gasp fourth-down play late in Sunday’s game ended with an incompletion.
Garrett also has OK’d a fake punt, which succeeded, and a surprise onside kick, which failed, this season.
Cowboys receiver Terrance Williams redeemed himself early on Sunday night.
Williams had the infamous play in the opener in which he turned upfield instead of running out of bounds with 12 seconds left. The clock ran out, denying Dan Bailey a chance for a career-best field goal of 60-plus yards. The Cowboys lost 20-19.
But Williams made up for it when he broke free on a 31-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter against the Giants. Prescott didn’t miss Williams, who got behind the Giants’ coverage and easily went into the end zone.
It was the third touchdown catch for Williams on the season, matching his total from 2015.
He finished with five catches for 76 yards.
Returner Lucky Whitehead was the most notable player on the inactive list.
Whitehead was late to a team meeting on Saturday morning and did not make the trip with the team. Receiver Cole Beasley handled punt return duties, and running back Lance Dunbar was the kickoff returner.
Whitehead had played in all 12 games for the Cowboys. He is averaging 23.8 yards on 10 kickoff returns and 8.8 yards on 19 punt returns.