SANTA CLARA, Calif. The Cowboys didn’t have Dez Bryant, but they did have Brice Butler, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley. On Sunday against the 49ers, the Three Musketeers left Bryant celebrating on the sideline.
“They did outstanding,” Bryant said. “It’s just amazing how much excitement is always there. Everybody wants to eat. Everybody is hungry. That’s exactly what we need around here. We keep each other lifted. That’s what we’re going to continue to keep doing. That’s how you win. You stay ready, so we don’t have to get ready.”
Butler caught a 4-yard touchdown pass; Williams caught a 20-yard touchdown pass; and Beasley had a 47-yard catch-and-run late in the fourth quarter that sealed the victory. The three combined for 12 catches, 151 yards and two touchdowns.
“We talked about it earlier in the week,” Butler said. “We’re going to be ready to go. … I feel like everybody stepped up and did what they were supposed to do and expected them to do.”
Bryant could miss two more weeks while the hairline fracture in his right knee heals. While he was out seven games last season, the Cowboys’ offense sputtered.
On Sunday, without Tony Romo and Bryant, the Cowboys gained 428 yards and scored 24 points. Rookie Dak Prescott passed for 245 yards, spreading it around to seven receivers with Beasley’s 66 yards a game high.
Forty-seven of Beasley’s yards came on a receiver screen with 1:45 remaining to ice the game.
“I think it’s safe because it’s like a run play for a receiver,” Beasley said. “It’s a high-percentage toss, and I’ve got [Jason Witten] protecting the throw. The only bad thing that could happen on the play is if I fumble, just like a running back when he’s running the ball. So it was a good call, and second down was probably the best time to call that.”
The Cowboys had faith in their outside receivers, too, with Butler catching five passes for 41 yards and a touchdown and Williams catching four passes for 44 yards and a score.
Butler did have a drop on a fade for a touchdown, and a 15-yard taunting penalty cost the Cowboys valuable field position in the fourth quarter.
“I was competing,” Butler said of the penalty. “I was in the heat of the moment. I was looking at him. I rolled the ball, and [the official] got me.”
The Cowboys still contend they miss Bryant.
“Dez will never be that player that you can just go on without him,” Williams said. “But I think from a receiver standpoint, that we just manned up and decided we were going to have his back. We practiced our butts off. Didn’t anybody give us a chance except him.”
“When you have a guy like that who’s that impactful that can just keep talking to you, keeping you in the game, that’s the biggest thing for us, just keep talking to us, keeping us in the game to where our guys don’t wander. Dez does a great job of that. Dez was a big part of this win just like we were catching the ball.”