Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys WR Dez Bryant shines in return against Eagles

Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant snatches this pass for a fourth-quarter touchdown despite the coverage of Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll.
Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant snatches this pass for a fourth-quarter touchdown despite the coverage of Eagles cornerback Nolan Carroll. Special to the Star-Telegram

Dez Bryant didn’t take long to make an impact in his return to the Dallas Cowboys.

Bryant and quarterback Dak Prescott connected for a 53-yard pass in the first quarter. But that play became a footnote when Bryant hauled in a 22-yard touchdown pass from Prescott in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 23. The TD pass was a little underthrown, but Bryant made an adjustment and out-muscled Nolan Carroll for the ball.

The Cowboys went on to defeat the Philadelphia Eagles 29-23 in overtime to improve to 6-1.

Bryant finished with four catches for 113 yards and the TD. It was his second 100-yard receiving game of the season, and first since missing three games with a hairline fracture in his right knee.

Bryant had one 100-yard receiving game last year in an injury-plagued season. Sunday marked his 17th career 100-yard game.

Bryant felt he could have returned two weeks ago at Green Bay, but the Cowboys were cautious in bringing him back. He expressed eagerness to return earlier in the week.

“I’m excited. I get to be back with my teammates and get to be a part of the excitement,” Bryant said earlier this week. “It’s just fun. I just can’t wait to get out there and have fun.”

Mostly lows for special teams

The Cowboys’ had their worst game on special teams. Or at least it seemed like it until punter Chris Jones pulled off a fake good for 30 yards and a first down in the third quarter.

That breathed life back into the Cowboys, leading to a 23-yard field goal that cut the deficit to 20-13.

On the ensuing kickoff, Eagles returner Josh Huff flipped the field with a 53-yard return. It was that kind of night for the special teams units.

In addition to giving up Huff’s return, the Cowboys’ special teams unit had a couple costly penalties and two poor fielding decisions by returner Lucky Whitehead.

Whitehead returned the opening kickoff only to the 10-yard line. He fumbled on the play, too, and was fortunate to get the ball back.

With the poor field position, the Cowboys failed to score on their opening drive for only the second time this season.

Early in the second quarter, Whitehead fielded a punt at the Eagles’ 3. Hereturned it to the 10, but a holding penalty by Rod Smith backed up the Cowboys to the 5.

The Cowboys went three-and-out on the ensuing possession and the Eagles took advantage of a short field to tie the game at 10-10.

The Cowboys went three-and-out on the opening possession of the second half and the punt team was flagged for a chop block by Andrew Gachkar and Rod Smith. The Eagles started at their own 31 instead of their 16 because of that play, and capitalized with another TD drive to go up 20-10.

Another penalty proved costly near the end of regulation. Linebacker Kyle Wilber was called for holding, reversing the Cowboys 10 yards further on what they hoped would have been a game-winning field goal drive.

Star Telegram columnist Mac Engel wraps up the Cowboys sixth win of the year - an OT victory against the Philly Eagles (video by Mac Engel/Star-Telegram).

Briefly

▪ Safety Barry Church injured his right arm in the second half, and did not return. He broke his right arm against Buffalo in the second-to-last game last season, and missed the season finale.

▪ Center Travis Frederick was called for holding in the fourth quarter, a penalty that wiped out a 63-yard run by Ezekiel Elliott. It marked the second holding penalty by Frederick this season and the seventh in his four-year career.

▪ The roof and doors were open for the first time this season at AT&T Stadium. The Cowboys are now 6-7 all-time in that configuration.

▪ The Cowboys snapped a streak of six straight games won by the visiting team in this series.

Drew Davison: 817-390-7760, @drewdavison

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