WR Dez Bryant - Free Agent
|6-2, 225||Born: 11-4-1988||College: Oklahoma State||Drafted: Round 1, pick 24 (2010)|
2017 Week 1 vs NYG (9 / 2 / 43 / 0 rec)
Despite a team-high nine targets, Bryant and Dak Prescott struggled to establish a strong connection against the Giants. Bryant saw three straight end zone targets on a red zone drive, all coming up empty. Bryant also got loose deep only to be missed by Prescott down the sideline. Bryant drew a deep defensive pass interference penalty as well. Only a broken tackle on a slant route for 35 yards prevented Bryant's game from being a complete bust in the box score. Bryant's burst and ball skills were present, but the consistent missed opportunities were roadblocks this week.
2017 Week 2 vs DEN (16 / 7 / 59 / 1 rec)
Volume was not an issue for Bryant, seeing a sturdy 16 looks against Denver, 32% of the team total. It was Bryant's highest total dating back to 2013. However, Bryant was constantly pestered by tight coverage and struggled to make a dent downfield. His short to intermediate route highlights including a classic back-shoulder touchdown and a beautiful toe-drag on an out route. Bryant's tipped pass led to an interception and failing to corral a late-game jump ball on fourth down in the end zone iced the game for Denver. Bryant also logged an offensive pass interference penalty to kill a drive. With Arizona up in Week 3, Bryant will have back-to-back tough tests.
2017 Week 3 vs ARI (2 / 2 / 12 / 1 rec)
As expected Dez Bryant drew the consistent coverage of Patrick Peterson during their Week 3 matchup. As a result, Bryant saw only two targets in addition to drawing a defensive holding penalty on Peterson. After being stuffed on a first half screen pass, Bryant made the most of his other reception. On a red zone catch over the middle, Bryant churned through multiple defenders inside the five-yard-line after the catch for the physical touchdown.
2017 Week 4 vs LAR (13 / 5 / 98 / 0 rec)
Bryant was the featured receiver from start to finish against the Rams, collecting 36% of the team targets and nearly doubling the next closest receiver (Ezekiel Elliott) in receiving yards. Bryant's physical style at the catch point was his highlight trait this week as he corralled a high-point reception for 35 yards on the opening drive and made a fingertip grab on another occasion. Bryant played solid defense on one misguided throw by Dak Prescott, tipping away a likely interception in the end zone. Bryant had opportunities for an even bigger game if not for a drop on a low in-breaking route target and failing to come up with a 50/50 deep ball.
2017 Week 5 vs GB (8 / 5 / 52 / 1 rec)
Bryant played with a notable chip on his shoulder against Green Bay with early energy in his routes and after the catch. Bryant's biggest impact came on two contested targets. One of them was a classic Bryant high-point on a red zone fade for a touchdown. On the other, Bryant played defense to break up a likely interception over the middle. Bryant had the opportunity for another touchdown, but failed to control a low target in the end zone. Yet to hit 100 yards in a game this season, Bryant will have an easier schedule after Dallas' Week 6 bye with San Francisco up next.
2017 Week 7 vs SF (10 / 7 / 63 / 1 rec)
Bryant was the primary option for Dallas in the passing game, collecting 10 targets of the team's 27 passes. No other Dallas player logged more than four targets against San Francisco. Bryant's seven receptions marked a season high and he found the end zone for the fourth time in the last five games. A majority of Bryant's catches were rugged short-to-intermediate throws as Bryant corralled a low third down target to convert on one occasion and high-pointed a target in the back of the end zone for his touchdown in the game. Bryant did drop a contested deep out target as his lone missed opportunity.
2017 Week 8 vs WAS (6 / 4 / 39 / 0 rec)
Bryant was fed the ball as the feature element of Dallas' muted passing game against Washington. His six targets led the team as the running attack was the centerpiece with Ezekiel Elliott in the comfortable win. Bryant was led without a touchdown in a game for only the third time this season. Bryant's lone opportunity for a score came on a well-defended red zone fade target, which was broken up by the defensive back. Bryant also had a smoke screen for more than 20 yards called back by penalty. Bryant's best play was a third down conversion in the closing minutes to ice the game for Dallas. The Chiefs and Falcons the next two weeks offer better matchups than the Josh Norman-led Washington secondary for Bryant in the near term.
2017 Week 9 vs KC (11 / 6 / 73 / 0 rec)
Despite seeing 33% of Dallas' targets, Bryant was generally held in check by Kansas City as Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley stole the show for Dallas' passing game. Bryant dropped a third down crossing route target and a deep in-cut pass later in the game. His best opportunity for a touchdown, an end zone target, was tipped away by the defensive back. His game was not without impact, however, as Bryant converted a third-and-15 highpoint pass in the two-minute drill of the first half and drew a defensive pass interference penalty on another third down. Bryant ended the game on the sideline, missing a chunk of the fourth quarter with an ankle injury. Atlanta in Week 10 offers a rebound opportunity, health pending, as Bryant has gone two games without a touchdown and has yet to surpass 100 yards in a game this season.
2017 Week 10 vs ATL (8 / 4 / 39 / 0 rec)
Bryant was active early for the Dallas offense as their running game struggled to find consistency against Atlanta. Bryant led the team in targets, but did not make an impact on any deeper routes. Bryant's production came on three hitch routes and an intermediate reception, relying on after-the-catch skills for any additional yardage. Bryant also dropped a slant route target on the day. This week marked Bryant's second-lowest yardage total of the season and his third straight game without a touchdown. With Atlanta being a pass efficiency defense to exploit and the next three opponents top-half passing defense units, Bryant and the Dallas offensive line in pass protection will need to be at the top of their respective games for a short-term turnaround.
2017 Week 11 vs PHI (14 / 8 / 63 / 0 rec)
Bryant saw his most targets since Week 2, accounting for a gaudy 45% of the team total. However, Bryant struggled to find any big plays as Philadelphia tightly covered deeper routes and pinned Bryant into minimal yards-after-catch situations on short-range targets. Bryant added a third down drop this week and did not see any optimal touchdown opportunities. With Dallas' offensive line struggling to protect Dak Prescott, consistent deep passing work is a difficult task. Bryant's Week 11 was indicative of his season overall as he is averaging less than 11 yards-per-catch and has not found the end zone in four games.
2017 Week 12 vs LAC (5 / 3 / 37 / 0 rec)
Bryant was silent through halftime, not seeing a target until midway through the third quarter. Bryant did see two optimal targets of note with a contested jump ball attempt and an end zone jump ball target. Both were broken up by solid coverage. As a result, Bryant's converted catches were of the routine variety with a back-shoulder catch in the fourth quarter his most notable impact. Bryant has uncharacteristically gone five games without a touchdown, spanning 25 receptions, and has yet to have a 100-yard game (only one game of more than 75 yards) in 2017.
2017 Week 13 vs WAS (7 / 5 / 61 / 1 rec)
While no other Dallas receiver accrued even 25 yards, Bryant managed a decent performance by finding the end zone and collecting 32% of the team targets. Bryant's few unsuccessful targets were hardly his fault as he drew an end zone defensive pass interference penalty and two poor throws by Dak Prescott. Bryant skied for a high-point touchdown, through defensive pass interference, as Dallas began to roll in the fourth quarter to the comfortable victory. Bryant broke a tackle for more than 20 yards on a third down in-breaking route for his other notable reception. The Raiders and Giants offer two promising matchups up next as Bryant still seeks his first 100-yard game of the season.
2017 Week 14 vs NYG (5 / 3 / 73 / 1 rec)
Bryant saw meager five targets against the Giants, but logged a successful game built around a single long catch-and-run touchdown. On a slant route, Bryant shed the trailing defender and sprinted to the end zone for a long score. Bryant had an opportunity for another touchdown on a deep target, dropping the pass. Bryant's other two receptions were intermediate routes with little after-catch potential. Two of Bryant's better games of this lackluster season have come over the past two games with another strong matchup (Oakland) up next.
2017 Week 15 vs OAK (4 / 2 / 59 / 0 rec, 1 / -4 / 0 rush)
Bryant's four targets this week marked the lowest total since Week 3 and he was fourth on the team in targets against Oakland. Bryant was impactful on his two receptions; however, has he spun away from defenders for 19 yards late in the third quarter and added a contested down-the-sideline catch for 40 yards with the game in doubt later in the half. Bryant added an end zone defensive pass interference penalty and was stuffed on a reverse, a rare rushing attempt for the veteran receiver. In what has been a lost season overall for Bryant, he has an uphill climb to hit 1,000 yards with two games remaining, has not logged 100 yards in any singular game of the season, and has been invisible within Dallas' offense for quarters at a time.
2017 Week 16 vs SEA (6 / 3 / 44 / 0 rec)
Bryant logged another disappointing game against Seattle this week. On six targets, Bryant managed more negative plays than positive ones with a drop, interception, and fumble bookending his day. Bryant dropped an easy slant route early on and lost a fumble on a hitch route. While in field goal range, Bryant tipped a pass up in the air, which was intercepted. Bryant's lone positive impact play came on Dak Prescott's best throw of the game. While rolling left, Prescott delivered a strike downfield to a diving Bryant for more than 30 yards.
2017 Week 17 vs PHI (8 / 3 / 24 / 0 rec)
Bryant was one of the most disappointing aspects of the Dallas offense in 2017. Week 17 capped off the down season, now three in a row, with a mere 24 yards on a team-high eight targets. Bryant had a long reception called back by penalty but also did not break a tackle on a short reception with a one-on-one after-catch opportunity and did not haul in either of his contested catch targets. Bryant did elude two defenders for additional yardage after a comeback route, but it was his lone highlight of the game. Bryant is a highlight player of the offseason considering his high salary and lack of results of late. Dallas would save more than $20 million in cap space over the final two seasons of Bryant's contract if cutting Bryant. Dallas also has question marks with Terrance Williams and Jason Witten in a critical offseason to improve the sagging passing game from 2017.
2016 Week 1 vs NYG (5 / 1 / 8 / 0 rec)
Bryant was quiet early in the game against the Giants, logging a single target in the opening quarter. Bryant had his chances downfield from Dak Prescott, but it was a game of close-but-missed chances for a big play. Bryant had an end zone jump ball, but perfect coverage tipped the pass away. Another end zone jump ball was caught by Bryant, but upon review was reversed with Bryant bobbling the ball upon ground contact. Bryant had single coverage on a deep sideline route, only to have Dak Prescott sail the pass out of bounds. Another jump ball situation was also broken up by the defensive back. Converting even one or two of these opportunities upgrades Bryant's box score to open the season.
2016 Week 2 vs WAS (12 / 7 / 102 / 0 rec)
After a game of missed (and few) opportunities in Week 1, Bryant was featured early and often against Washington. Bryant consistently won on deep in-cut routes but outside of one occasion was limited in opportunities for yards-after-the-catch. Bryant added a drop in the mid-fourth quarter and missed a touchdown opportunity on his lone end zone target. On the positive side, Bryant logged 40% of the targets this week and double that of No.2 target Cole Beasley. Dallas' pass game has yet to score a touchdown this season, creating a tempered ceiling for Bryant on a weekly basis.
2016 Week 3 vs CHI (6 / 3 / 40 / 1 rec)
It was a low volume day for the Dallas passing game in the blowout win over Chicago. Bryant saw a hearty 25% of the team targets, but behind Cole Beasley who has shown strong chemistry with Dak Prescott through three games. Bryant had a single target for much of the first half, a converted comeback route, but added two receptions later in the game including a contested red zone post route where Bryant sported strong hands for the touchdown. Bryant emerged with a knee injury. The X-rays were negative on Sunday, but an MRI is to follow early in the week to determine Bryant's status going forward.
2016 Week 8 vs PHI (14 / 4 / 113 / 1 rec)
Bryant was back for the Dallas pass game against the Eagles. Dak Prescott focused on short-to-intermediate throws in Bryant's absence, but the passing attack opened up for downfield opportunities with Bryant in the lineup. Tight coverage was the norm as Philadelphia used plenty of man coverage and press concepts on Bryant. Some of Prescott's least accurate throws were to Bryant, missing the star receiver on a third down deep in-cut and on multiple end zone targets. The pair did connect on a deep sideline target for 53 yards early in the game and calibrated their timing for a game-tying end zone fade with three minutes left in regulation. With more Prescott accuracy, Bryant had multiple touchdown upside this week.
2016 Week 9 vs CLE (4 / 1 / 19 / 0 rec)
Jason Witten stole the passing game show for Dallas in Week 9. Bryant struggled to create separate, saw just four targets, and dropped his easiest pass of the game on a red zone crossing route. Dallas did not need Bryant's big plays as their offensive line controlled the game, but Bryant's streaky history was on display in Week 9. Bryant had a third down target tipped away by a defensive back. Dak Prescott and Bryant's lone connection came on a back shoulder target early in the second half. Bryant will look to get back on track against the soft Pittsburgh pass defense next week.
2016 Week 10 vs PIT (9 / 6 / 116 / 1 rec)
Bryant led Dallas in targets and rebounded from a down Week 9 effort against Cleveland. Bryant created separation on multiple receptions against the overmatched Pittsburgh secondary. Nearly every catch for Bryant was highlight-worthy from a back-shoulder contested catch to a stiff arm to a low slant grab on third down. The cherry on top was Bryant getting behind a defensive back, extending to corral the pass, and bursting to the end zone to take the second half lead. Some of Dak Prescott's inaccurate throws came on targets of Bryant, tempering his final statistical output for the game.
2016 Week 11 vs BAL (8 / 6 / 80 / 2 rec)
The chemistry continues to build between Bryant and Dak Prescott. Despite a slow start (a single target through a quarter and a half), Bryant ramped up in the second half as did the entire Dallas pass game. Bryant's deep in-cut reception moved Dallas into field goal range late in the first half. In the second half, Bryant was unstoppable in the red zone, converting two targets into two touchdowns. On the first, Bryant exhibited his strong jump ball skills, outmuscling an overmatched defensive back. On the second, Bryant ran through a tackle attempt after soft coverage of a slant route. Bryant has five touchdowns in his last five games with Washington's soft defense up next.
2016 Week 12 vs WAS (7 / 5 / 72 / 0 rec)
Even in a tempered passing day for Dallas, Bryant still saw a sturdy 29% of the team's targets. Bryant was used on short-to-intermediate routes with success, seeing Josh Norman most of the day. Bryant excelled in the red zone with a slant reception and a contested catch down to the goal line. His notable missed opportunity was a dropped third down slant target in field goal range. The Vikings offer a challenging matchup next week for Bryant to see similar success.
2016 Week 13 vs MIN (6 / 4 / 84 / 1 rec)
Despite an anemic 18 passes thrown by the Dallas offense, Bryant logged 33% of the targets. Bryant came free for a full extension long reception, a highlight play down to the one-yard-line. While Bryant just missed a touchdown on his long play of the game, he converted a smoke screen in the red zone for a score in the fourth quarter, bursting to the sideline for the touchdown. Since Dallas' bye week, Bryant has scored five times in six games. After a stingy matchup against Minnesota, next week offers a better matchup against the Giants secondary.
2016 Week 14 vs NYG (9 / 1 / 10 / 0 rec)
Like in Week 1, the Giants shut down Dez Bryant. The star receiver rarely created separation and Dak Prescott's most inaccurate throws came in Bryant's direction. Bryant slipped on an in-breaking route early in the game, resulting in an interception. Prescott targeted Bryant in double coverage deep down the field, resulting in an easy interception. Bryant's lone reception of the game, a slant route with two minutes to play, finished with Bryant fumbling in Dallas territory. On the Cowboys last possession, Bryant dug out a low throw on fourth down to keep hope alive of a game-tying field goal, only to be reviewed and reversed to an incomplete pass, ending the game. This marked the third time in 10 games this season where Bryant logged a single reception and less than 20 yards.
2016 Week 15 vs TB (10 / 8 / 82 / 0 rec)
It was a workman-like game for Bryant against Tampa Bay. The Buccaneers limited Bryant big play opportunities, but Bryant excelled on intermediate and short routes with sharp route-running and strong hands. In addition to his eight receptions, Bryant's season-high total, Bryant had a short reception and a full extension grab called back by penalty. Bryant dropped a back shoulder goal line target, his lone touchdown chance of the contest.
2016 Week 16 vs DET (5 / 4 / 70 / 2 rec)
Bryant had his most impressive performance in more than a month against Detroit. Not only did Bryant optimize his five targets in the pass game, he also threw for a touchdown. Bryant took an end-around to the perimeter, finding a wide open Jason Witten for a red zone touchdown. Through the air Bryant dominated with two highly contested deep passes, converting both for touchdowns. Also, Bryant drew a long defensive pass interference penalty beyond the box score. This marked Bryant best performance of the season on just five official targets, his second-lowest total of the season.
2016 Week 17 vs PHI (1 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec)
Bryant played less than two quarters in Dallas' season finale with nothing on the line. He was not targeted by starter Dak Prescott in the opening quarter and his lone target in the second quarter drew a deep defensive pass interference penalty. The best news is Bryant emerged from the game without injury and will get a week off before the Cowboys' playoff slate opens.
2015 Week 1 vs NYG (7 / 5 / 48 / 0 rec)
Bryant left the field on multiple occasions against the Giants. The first was to receive an IV early in the game. Once he returned, Bryant was a mix of impactful (deep in-cut reception to convert third down on Dallas' two-minute drive) and forgettable (dropped a third down crossing route in the red zone to squander a scoring opportunity. After having minimal impact in Dallas' cautious passing game, Bryant missed the rest of the game with a now-diagnosed broken bone in his foot. Devin Street filled in for Bryant, without impact, after Bryant left.
2015 Week 8 vs SEA (6 / 2 / 12 / 0 rec)
Bryant's return to the lineup was a tough matchup against Richard Sherman and the Seattle secondary. Bryant exhibited a lack of timing and explosion when targeted with jump balls he typically dominates when at full strength. The snap count projections leading up to the game where not in effect as Bryant saw 81% of the snaps. Bryant did not have his same leaping ability on a third quarter jump ball and then late in the game was called for offensive pass interference on a deep target as the defensive back was in position for an interception. Bryant was stuffed on a screen pass and his lone reception with any space was a benign catch-and-run in the second half. While emerging without injury aggravation was a position in Bryant's return, his impact was minimal on a hefty dose of snaps.
2015 Week 9 vs PHI (8 / 5 / 104 / 1 rec)
After a non-descript return from injury against Richard Sherman last week, Bryant enjoyed more accustomed success against the Eagles. Bryant exhibited more strength and burst than a week ago, getting off an early jam for a sizeable gain and yards-after-catch. Bryant hauled in a hail mary-like jump ball from Matt Cassel, turning a questionable decision by Cassel into a game-tying touchdown. Late in the game Bryant drew two defensive pass interference penalties, followed by a slant route reception, to set Dallas up for an overtime-forcing field goal in the final minute. While missing Tony Romo, Bryant is back as an impact pass-maker for Dallas' offense.
2015 Week 10 vs TB (12 / 5 / 45 / 0 rec)
Bryant had a high-volume, but forgettable performance against Tampa Bay. He was involved early with two quick receptions and a third catch by the mid-second quarter. However, drops were an issue as Bryant misplayed a slant route target plus a back shoulder throw on third down late in the game. Finally, Matt Cassel targeted Bryant deep in the end zone against single coverage in the closing seconds for the win. Bryant lost track of the ball mid-flight, played small versus contact, and allowed the game-ending interception on the play. Bryant was more concerned with lobbying for a defensive penalty on the play. Tony Romo likely return in Week 11 stands to be a quality upgrade to Bryant's rest-of-season outlook.
2015 Week 11 vs MIA (9 / 4 / 45 / 1 rec)
Bryant was the clear preferred target of Tony Romo in their first game together since early in the season. Bryant saw more than 30% of Romo's passes. Despite Bryant being held in check from the big play by Miami, his receptions included two third down conversions, a contested catch, and a full extension grab diving over the middle. Bryant's touchdown came from a slot alignment, a promising sign to get more advantageous matchups on key passing downs in future weeks.
2015 Week 12 vs CAR (8 / 2 / 26 / 0 rec)
Despite a team-leading eight targets, Bryant was held in check by Josh Norman and the Carolina secondary. He was held without a catch in the first half, seeing tight coverage consistently and Tony Romo overthrowing him on a deep route. Bryant made a quality catch on a low throw, but his highest leverage target - an end zone look in the fourth quarter - was tipped away. With Matt Cassel back under center, Bryant will have a tough time rebounding from essentially a lost season in the closing weeks. Bryant has a single game with more than 50 yards on the season.
2015 Week 13 vs WAS (7 / 3 / 62 / 0 rec)
Bryant was vocal about his lack of quality targets early against Washington. Matt Cassel overthrew Bryant on a remedial slant route and later Cassel ignored Bryant completely when he was wide open for a likely slant route touchdown. Bryant barked on the sideline following the drive as Dallas' offense sputtered for more than three full quarters. Beyond the box score, Bryant did draw two defensive pass interference penalties, both on third downs and one deep down the field. Late in the game Bryant stepped up and finally saw accurate throws from Cassel. Bryant made a double move deep down the sideline for a highlight reel diving catch inside the five-yard-line. On the game-winning drive Bryant caught slant and comeback route receptions, leading to Dallas' long field goal. Including the pass interference penalties, Bryant's impact was close to 100 yards for the game and with Cassel being more accurate early on would have added a touchdown and two more receptions to his tally. The late-game connection deep between Bryant and Cassel was a positive sign for the coming weeks. This week marked the second time all season Bryant eclipsed 50 yards in a game.
2015 Week 14 vs GB (6 / 1 / 9 / 0 rec)
The lost 2015 season for Dez Bryant continued against Green Bay. For the fourth straight game, Bryant caught less than half his targets, this time contributing four drops along the way. A high, but catchable goal line pass clanged off Bryant's hands, turning into an interception. Bryant later dropped a back shoulder target and an easy comeback route. The closest play came on a ball skills display for Bryant down the seam. Through blanket coverage, Bryant corralled the ball for a potential huge gain. However, an official review overturned the completion as he bobbled the ball heading to the ground. He did draw a defensive holding penalty on an early-game slant route beyond the box score. With Matt Cassel premium opportunities are few and far between, but Bryant hindered his own performance with critical drops this week.
2015 Week 15 vs NYJ (9 / 4 / 50 / 1 rec)
For only the third time in nine games this season Bryant hit the 50-yard mark. While leading the team with nine targets - a hearty 27% of the team total - Bryant and his quarterbacks Matt Cassel and Kellen Moore were not on the same page. Bryant's touchdown came on a smoke route at the line of scrimmage, beating Darrelle Revis in the red zone with his after-the-catch acumen. Bryant dropped an early game out route in the red zone, a potential touchdown, with a rare on-target throw. Kellen Moore forced the ball in Bryant's direction multiple times resulting in interceptions. Late in the game Bryant was well-covered with double and triple teams.
2014 Week 1 vs SF (6 / 4 / 55 / 0 rec)
Bryant was in and out of the game in the second half against the 49ers with reported dehydration issues. Taking a huge shot to the lower back when extending for a high throw early in the game did not help matters. With on-target throws, Bryant cleanly caught the ball and outmuscled defenders after the catch. Two of Bryant's targets resulted in interceptions, once with tight double-coverage on a deep route. Bryant also had a holding penalty while blocking for a wide receiver screen.
2014 Week 2 vs TEN (14 / 10 / 103 / 1 rec)
After a dehydration and dinged up Week 1, Bryant battled through an early shoulder injury this week in Tennessee to have a strong performance. The chemistry built late last season and in the preseason between Bryant and Tony Romo was on display throughout the game. Bryant saw single coverage on back to back goal line targets, corralling the second with ease for a second half touchdown. Bryant scooped up two low targets in the game as well. Production available to Bryant not in the box score includes drawing a defensive pass interference penalty on a third down slant route and dropping a high target on third down in field goal range to close the first half.
2014 Week 3 vs STL (7 / 6 / 89 / 1 rec)
Bryant was held in check on his short and intermediate targets against St.Louis with few opportunities for yards after the catch. Bryant was in the flow of the offense from the start as he had three receptions on the opening drive alone. Tony Romo stared down Bryant in the second quarter on a comeback route, however, as the defensive back jumped in front, and ended up in the end zone as the Rams rolled to an early 21-0 lead. Later in the game, Bryant's highlight play brought Dallas back with a long touchdown. On the play, Bryant turned the cornerback around with a double move and then was not picked up by the safety across the field. Bryant had to slow down for Romo to get free and find him for the easy touchdown.
2014 Week 4 vs NO (6 / 3 / 44 / 1 rec)
It was a slow start for Bryant against the Saints despite the Cowboys offense moving the ball at will in the blowout win. New Orleans gave Bryant the Calvin Johnson treatment, especially in the red zone, which opened the field for Terrance Williams and Jason Witten to excel. Bryant's blocking in the run game was paramount to DeMarco Murray's success as he broke through the line of scrimmage on multiple long gains. Late in the game, Bryant made his highlight play, a back shoulder reception for a touchdown, which clinched the victory with three minutes to play. Bryant's typical high-level of involvement was not needed this week, but Bryant was still second on the team in targets with six.
2014 Week 5 vs HOU (14 / 9 / 85 / 1 rec)
Until late in the game against Houston, the Texans held Bryant in check. Short routes were contested and Bryant struggled to find room after the catch. Bryant got loose down the sidelines against single coverage early in the second half, but Tony Romo had one of his rare misses on the play. Bryant converted a goal line fade route with ease as the Texans chose to single-cover Bryant on the play. The Romo-Bryant connection on those plays has become natural and high-probability play of late. With 20 seconds left in regulation Bryant dropped a receiver screen that appeared to be well-blocked on the edge of field goal range. Dallas ultimately moved the ball and attempted a field goal (missed), but Bryant missed an opportunity to win the game. Bryant redeemed himself in overtime, however, making a highlight reel reception against single coverage down the sideline. Bryant high-pointed the pass, bobbled it, and then controlled the ball as he hit the ground. The 37-yard reception moved Dallas into field goal range, which Dan Bailey made, for the home win.
2014 Week 6 vs SEA (10 / 4 / 63 / 0 rec)
Bryant was covered often by Richard Sherman this week, but that did not stop Tony Romo from targeting Bryant 10 times against Seattle. After a slow start that included a diving catch out of bounds and two tipped away targets, Bryant got hot in the second half. On one occasion, Bryant got free from Sherman on a deep crossing route, only to be tripping up after the catch. Without that, Bryant may have scored on the play. Bryant's play of the game came with seven minutes remaining on a back-shoulder connection in a must-convert third down situation. Dallas trailed at the time and Bryant corralled the tough catch to keep the ultimate game-winning drive moving.
2014 Week 7 vs NYG (12 / 9 / 151 / 0 rec)
Despite logging over 150 yards this week, it was a slow start for Bryant against the Giants. Bryant stumbled on a deep target, leaving the defensive back with an easy interception, in addition to tipping a Tony Romo fastball up in the air over the middle, nearly another turnover. Bryant was on his game over the final two-and-a-half quarters, however, as a high-impact playmaker. On different receptions, Bryant exhibited a strong stiff-arm, kept his knee off the ground has he spun up for an additional 20 yards, and juked a defensive back for an added 10 yards after the catch. Bryant was his usual handful post-reception. Bryant beat press coverage, created separation down the field, snared a perfect Tony Romo pass, and dove for the pylon. Bryant was ruled down prior to stretching for the end zone as DeMarco Murray plunged in for the clinching touchdown.
2014 Week 8 vs WAS (7 / 3 / 30 / 1 rec)
Bryant had his hands full against the Washington secondary. He beat linebacker coverage on an early slant route and logged an impressive touchdown later in the first half. After a one-handed snatch of a smoke screen, Bryant ran through two arm tackles and stretched across the goal line for the highlight reel play. From that point on, Bryant was harassed with tight coverage, including two typically automatic back shoulder goal line targets being tipped away. Additionally, Bryant was targeted on the final play of the game, an out route on fourth down in overtime, which was again tipped away. Bryant had his moments early in the game, but was a non-factor in the second half and overtime.
2014 Week 9 vs ARI (10 / 2 / 15 / 1 rec)
Despite a clear game plan to get Bryant involved early against Arizona, the Cardinals secondary, especially Patrick Peterson, had other plans. Bryant and Brandon Weeden showed little chemistry on timing throws and Bryant contributed his fair share with an early dropped pass. Peterson was consistently in press coverage and had the size to harass Bryant on short and intermediate routes. One of the surprise statistics throughout the game was Dez Bryant and Terrance Williams were held without a reception until deep into the fourth quarter. Without a reception for most of the game, Bryant did draw a defensive pass interference penalty in addition to a third down facemask penalty on Peterson to prolong drives. Bryant finally got in the stat book on the final garbage time drive with a deep in-cut reception and a goal line fade for the touchdown in the final two minutes. It was a tough game for Bryant as tight coverage and poorly thrown passes from Brandon Weeden undermined his target volume.
2014 Week 10 vs JAX (8 / 6 / 158 / 2 rec)
Bryant had his way with an overmatched Jacksonville secondary with all of his production coming in the first half. Both of his touchdowns were long catch-and-run forays, showing off his punt return-like ability and ferocity against defenders in the open field. In a more competitive game and playing the entire way, Bryant was in for a record-setting performance. While frustrated with Brandon Weeden and a stingy Arizona defense last week, the elixir for Bryant this week was a leaky Jacksonville pass defense and Tony Romo back under center.
2014 Week 12 vs NYG (9 / 7 / 86 / 2 rec)
The overall volume of the Cowboys passing game was low against the Giants, 26 attempts, but Bryant saw 35% of the passes from Tony Romo. After a slow first half as Dallas behind, Bryant turned it on over the final 30 minutes. Bryant shook free on a crossing route as Romo rolled from the pocket. After catching the wide open pass, Bryant turned up field and was not met by a defender until reaching the pylon. With one minute remaining in the game, Dallas took the lead for good as Bryant hauled in the pass as he crossed the back of the end zone. On the play, Romo had close to eight seconds to deliver the game-winning score. Outside of those two touchdowns, Bryant was well-defensed and kept in front of the Giants secondary. Like the great ones typically do, Bryant eventually made his mark on the game with impactful plays late.
2014 Week 13 vs PHI (7 / 4 / 73 / 0 rec)
After four straight games with at least one touchdown, Bryant had a quiet performance as Dallas was drubbed by Philadelphia. Much of Bryant's production came on two receptions. One where Bryant beat single coverage on a deep sideline route for 38 yards and another being a 23-yarder in the closing minutes of garbage time. Bryant was well-covered a majority of the game and Tony Romo was under heavy pressure to make broken plays down field near impossible. With the Bears, Eagles, Colts, and Redskins to finish the season, the passing matchups are optimistic for the Cowboys and Dez Bryant to get back on track after this lost game.
2014 Week 14 vs CHI (8 / 6 / 82 / 0 rec)
Bryant was active early against the Bears with two catches in the opening three minutes, which is usually a great indicator for a strong game. Bryant regularly saw single coverage and Terrance Williams was an afterthought in the passing attack. Bryant missed an opportunity for a touchdown when an end zone target was tipped away by rare tight coverage. A quiet second half as Dallas controlled the game at the line of scrimmage was highlighted by a long leaping grab between defenders by Bryant for 44 yards. For the second straight game Bryant was held out of the end zone. With optimal matchups against Philadelphia and Indianapolis in the coming two weeks, Bryant is likely to break that streak in short order.
2014 Week 15 vs PHI (7 / 6 / 114 / 3 rec)
After not scoring a touchdown in the past two games, Bryant got back to his big-play ways with three touchdowns in the divisional win at Philadelphia. Targets were difficult to come by for Bryant with just seven, but he dominated single coverage all game. Bryant had just two targets at the half, but both were touchdowns. Bryant beat single coverage on a deep sideline route as well as one of his staple goal line fade routes as Dallas build an early 21-0 lead. Bryant nearly scored a fourth touchdown on an in-cut reception in the red zone; he was tackled inside the five-yard-line on the play. Late in the game, Tony Romo missed a wide-open Bryant on a slant route with a high throw, thwarting Bryant's near perfect game. Bryant was the centerpiece of the Dallas offense and with DeMarco Murray sustaining a hand injury in the game; he will be counted on next week in the projected shootout against Indianapolis.
2014 Week 16 vs IND (5 / 5 / 73 / 1 rec)
Bryant had his way with the Indianapolis secondary, specifically with two highlight receptions in the first half. A well-placed jump ball by Tony Romo resulted in Bryant high-pointing a sideline touchdown as Dallas raced to an early 14-0 lead. Bryant added a highlight reel catch amidst defensive holding by Vontae Davis down the sideline, hauling in the pass with one hand as he came down. As Dallas cruised with a huge second half lead, the run game focus was plenty prior to the starters left early in the fourth quarter for the Cowboys offense.
2014 Week 17 vs WAS (6 / 4 / 99 / 2 rec)
Bryant, like the rest of the Dallas offense, played his regular complement of snaps to close the regular season. He was dominant in the first half with a highlight reel toe-tapping touchdown and breaking a smoke route reception for a long score. With Bryant's two touchdowns he set the Cowboys franchise record with 16 receiving scores in 2014. Over the past three seasons only three wide receivers have at least 30 receiving touchdowns with Bryant leading the way with 41 scores. Bryant is peaking as the playoffs arrive with six touchdowns over the last three games, despite seeing only 18 targets over that span.
2014 Week 18 vs DET (3 / 3 / 48 / 0 rec)
Bryant had a tempered performance against Detroit as the rest of the Dallas pass-catchers had elevated roles. In the first half, Bryant logged just a single reception, a short crossing route, where he was promptly stripped. He was able to recover the ball on the play. In the second half, Bryant contributed only one play of relevance. He took a short crosser route, broke the tackle of an overmatched linebacker in coverage, and scampered 43 yards into the red zone, including multiple missed tackles at the end of the play. Detroit shut down Bryant's opportunities down the field and crossing routes were the lone times Bryant found open space this week.
2014 Week 19 vs GB (4 / 3 / 38 / 0 rec)
Until late in the game, Bryant was quiet in the playoff tilt against Green Bay. Without a target for the first 25 minutes, Bryant finally caught a smoke screen and burst ahead for 10 yards late in the second quarter. Bryant logged two intermediate receptions in the second half and added a defensive pass interference penalty deep down the field early in the third quarter. Finally, there was the catch, then not-a-catch, heard around the world. On fourth-and-two in Green Bay territory, Dallas put the ball in Tony Romo's hands, not DeMarco Murray, with the game on the line. Romo delivered a well-throw jump ball to Bryant down the sidelines in single coverage. Bryant skied above the defensive back and snared the pass. He surged for the end zone, ultimately coming up short, and lost control of the ball. While ruled a reception on the field, which would have put Dallas first-and-goal, it was reversed when challenged by Green Bay. Harkening back to the infamous Calvin Johnson play from recent memory, Bryant looked to have completely the catch as he attempted to score. With the incompletion ruling, the game was essentially over and Dallas' season had ended.
2013 Week 1 vs NYG (8 / 4 / 22 / 0 rec)
Bryant was the clear focal point of the Giants' defensive attention. They played tough press coverage with a safety over the top on Bryant's side of the field the entire game. As a result, Bryant was limited to contested short-range targets through comebacks and the occasional crossing route. After all the tough coverage, Bryant finally drew a defensive pass interference penalty later in the game. Not often will Bryant be fourth on the team in targets like this week and averaging less than six yards per reception with no production after the catch. Miles Austin served as the possession receiver and did little to project a changing of the guard at the number one receiver spot.
2013 Week 2 vs KC (13 / 9 / 141 / 1 rec)
After dealing with a foot issue during the week, Bryant put in a full practice prior to the game and was set for his matchup with Brandon Flowers. In the first half, and specifically the first quarter, Bryant dominated Flowers in one-on-one situations. Bryant had over 100 yards and a touchdown in the opening 15 minutes, including multiple back-shoulder throws highlighting the budding chemistry with Tony Romo. Bryant's huge day could have been even bigger being called for a questionable offensive pass interference penalty on a long gain, outright dropping another deep target, and Romo going away from Bryant with single coverage near the goal line. Bryant even confronted Romo after Dallas stalled in the red zone when single coverage signaled an opportunity for another touchdown between them.
2013 Week 3 vs STL (6 / 4 / 38 / 1 rec)
After a huge Week two performance, Bryant was not needed against a Rams defense that could not stop the Dallas running game this week. Bryant got his touchdown early in the game on a goal line fade. On occasion in the red zone St.Louis played a safety over the top of Bryant's side of the field, but this time Bryant was all alone with the defensive back. Bryant easily attacked the ball when it was in the air for the score. There was a possibility for an offensive pass interference penalty to be called on the play as Bryant was very physical with the defender as the ball was being released. Bryant was not targeted on deep routes; instead he converted first downs over the middle on in-cuts and slants in a possession role. A big day was not in the cards for Bryant, but he showed his usual 'my ball' mentality on the few chances he did have to make a play.
2013 Week 4 vs SD (9 / 6 / 81 / 2 rec)
Bryant was the lone Dallas player to get in the end zone against the Chargers. He scored on a goal line fade route, high-pointing the pass over the defender in one-on-one coverage. Later in the first half, Bryant was wide open on a crossing route as he took it all the way for the score. Dallas surged ahead behind Bryant's big plays in the first half, but he was held relatively in check in the second half as the Cowboys struggled on offense. Bryant could not haul in a diving sidelines target on third down, his most notable opportunity for a big play in the second half. He was fully extended and trying to keep his feet in-bounds as he could not haul in the pass. With two more touchdowns this week, Bryant now has a touchdown in ten of his last 12 games dating back to the middle of 2012, totaling 14 scores in the span. Bryant is also on pace for what would be career-highs with 92 receptions and 16 touchdowns through four games.
2013 Week 5 vs DEN (10 / 6 / 141 / 2 rec)
Bryant was unstoppable at times against Denver, especially when the Broncos defense played single coverage. Tony Romo found Bryant in the back of the end zone for the opening touchdown. Bryant secured the pass high above his head while tapping his toes down in-bounds, a true highlight play. Bryant had a few other impressive plays including a long catch-and-run to convert a third down. The play flipped field position from the shadow of Dallas' end zone into the red zone as Bryant turned around multiple defenders with his open-field vision. He added yet another back shoulder goal line touchdown. The defensive back had little chance to stop the play as Romo and Bryant are developing quite the chemistry on those plays. When single coverage in the red zone presents itself, Bryant is getting a target, and converting, with regularity. In addition to his 141 yards, Bryant also drew a defensive pass interference penalty on a deep target down the sidelines and a sizeable gain on a crossing route reception was called back by a holding penalty. Bryant's lone misstep was a fumble following a slant route reception when Dallas had an early 17-14 lead. The Cowboys early momentum and lead, turned into a deficit as the Broncos offense capitalized on the turnover.
2013 Week 6 vs WAS (8 / 5 / 36 / 0 rec)
Despite seeing the most targets in the Dallas passing game, it was an underwhelming game for Bryant against Washington. Bryant had three catches in the first two drives for the Cowboys, showing strong hands in tight coverage. He was working well in the short passing game, boxing out defenders for catches. Dallas took their foot off the gas offensively as the game progresses and their defense and special teams units controlled the game. They ran the ball near the end zone instead of targeting Bryant on fade route like previous weeks. Deangelo Hall played well as he shadowed Bryant most of the game. After their shootout against Denver in Week five, the Cowboys did not need the same aerial fireworks for the victory this week.
2013 Week 7 vs PHI (16 / 8 / 110 / 0 rec)
In what was a great matchup for Bryant against the Eagles, Tony Romo made a concerted effort to get him the ball early and often. Bryant appeared frustrated early in the game when tight coverage and physical play by defensive backs throughout Bryant's pass routes disrupted his timing and resulted in incompletions. Bryant was consistently jawing at defensive players and even his teammates on the sidelines between drives. Romo and Bryant adjusted as the game progressed with more in-breaking routes as Bryant got free for short and intermediate receptions. Bryant had multiple end zone targets, but none were successful this week. He nearly scored on a red zone crossing route, finished his after-the-catch yardage just short of the goal line. Bryant was targeted on a hail mary at the end of the first half, which had a chance for a touchdown. On a goal line sequence, Bryant had two targets, one appeared to be pass interference on the incompletion, the other an inaccurate throw from Romo against single coverage. Philip Tanner plunged in for the touchdown after those two shots for Bryant. Romo was also off-target on a deep sideline pass where Bryant had to adjust awkwardly over his outside shoulder instead of towards the middle of the field. Despite the strong statistical performance this week, Bryant had another 50-75 yards and a touchdown or two left on the field with better accuracy from Romo.
2013 Week 8 vs DET (6 / 3 / 72 / 2 rec, 1 / 1 / 0 rush)
Bryant was overshadowed by Calvin Johnson's career day on the opposite side of the field in Detroit, but had his own highlight reel this week. It was a slow start for Bryant as he had just a single rushing attempt, a well-defended reverse, until the late second quarter. Bryant made a spectacular touchdown catch on a goal line fade route. There was blanket coverage by the defensive back, but a perfect back-shoulder throw by Tony Romo allowed Bryant the opportunity to make the one-handed reception. In the second half, Bryant spun away from two defenders after a deep out route, keeping his balance on the sideline as he sprinted for a 50-yard touchdown. Late in the game, Bryant drew a defensive pass interference penalty on an in-breaking route over the middle. Bryant was the focus of the Detroit secondary, creating room for Terrance Williams down the field. Like great receivers do, Bryant still got his as the game progressed, even with the extra attention.
2013 Week 9 vs MIN (11 / 6 / 64 / 0 rec)
After a lackluster performance in Week eight, Bryant was targeted early and often against Minnesota. Despite the porous secondary of the Vikings, in addition to starter Xavier Rhodes going down with injury in-game, it was a subpar game for Bryant this week. Bryant saw just one target deep down the field, which was an overthrow by Tony Romo on the run. Bryant gained yards after the catch with regularity on his short targets. He powered through a defender for a first down on the opening drive. The Vikings did a surprisingly good job in coverage of Bryant and Terrance Williams on the outside. Jason Witten and Cole Beasley were the targets with room to work throughout the game. When Romo was off-target, many were in Bryant's direction. Three times Bryant got free, but throws were behind or high of the target range. If those throws were accurate, Bryant would have easily surpassed 100 yards on the day. In the second half, Bryant dropped a deep in-cut pass, which would have converted a second-and-long into field goal range. Instead Dallas punted on the drive. Bryant's emotions got the better of him as he was called for offensive pass interference on a pass down the sidelines. He assumed it was a defensive penalty, and then took off his helmet to argue with the official following the call. That penalty took Dallas out of field goal range as well. Bryant redeemed himself with his biggest play of the game on the Cowboys final, and ultimately game-winning, drive. He cut across the field after an in-breaking route for 34 yards into Minnesota territory. It was a game of missed opportunities for Bryant as he left production on the field against a Minnesota secondary that has rarely slowed down opposing receivers this season.
2013 Week 10 vs NO (2 / 1 / 44 / 0 rec)
The Saints gave Bryant the 'Calvin Johnson' treatment throughout the game, rolling two defenders to Bryant's side of the field. In addition, a second defensive back was used at the line of scrimmage with press coverage on a few select third downs and red zone snaps. Bryant was a key focus of the defense from the very first snap. As a result, Bryant did not see a single target in the first half. The other pass-catchers for the Cowboys were unable to beat single coverage, so there was little incentive for New Orleans to deviate from their plan. Romo overthrew Bryant on a deep route early in the third quarter, their first attempt to connect of the game. Bryant found room down the field before the safety could recover from reacting to an intermediate route, but an off-target throw thwarted the potential long gain. Bryant's lone reception came when he was motioned into the slot before the snap, something Detroit does with Calvin Johnson regularly. Bryant got away from double coverage on the play for a 44-yard gain. Using Bryant in the slot is not a staple in the Dallas offense, but his continued attention by defensive coverages may point to more snaps there in the coming games.
2013 Week 12 vs NYG (16 / 9 / 86 / 0 rec)
Bryant was at his best in the fourth quarter with the game on the line against the Giants. Early in the game, it was a focus of the offense to get Bryant the ball with three targets on the opening drive alone. On a slant route, Bryant bobbled an on-target pass from Tony Romo that bounced to a defender for an interception. In the third quarter, Bryant also fumbled a pass that was fortunately it out of bounds by a Giants player. Bryant would rebound from the interception and fumble with three big third-down conversions in the second half, including two on the game-winning drive. Romo and Bryant were locked in as the coverage was tight late in the game, but the pair prevailed time and time again moving the chains. There were no touchdown opportunities for Bryant and his lone target down the field would have been a circus catch on a broken play. A snap well over Romo's head, led to a jump ball in Bryant's direction, which he was unable to snare down the sidelines.
2013 Week 13 vs OAK (9 / 7 / 61 / 1 rec)
For the third time in the last four games, Bryant was held in check from getting loose down the field against the Raiders. Bryant did not see a target during the first 20 minutes of game time, at which time he dropped a smoke screen pass and fumbled followed a slant route reception. As Dallas found its way offensively, so did Bryant. He made a highlight touchdown catch, snaring a back-shoulder pass at the goal line with ease over the defender. Bryant created his own yards on a hitch route, making his way through three defenders for 19 yards. Bryant also drew a defensive pass interference in the game. Of late, the secondary options have not performed well enough to back defenses off from regularly double-teaming Bryant on the perimeter.
2013 Week 14 vs CHI (4 / 2 / 12 / 1 rec)
It was another relatively quiet game for Bryant against Chicago, logging two or less receptions for the second time in the past four games. His four targets this week marked the second time this season below six in a game. Dallas' passing game rarely looked in-sync in the frigid conditions as Tony Romo overthrew Bryant twice on deep targets. Bryant's lone highlight came on a back shoulder touchdown at the goal line as he beat single coverage. He had a single quick hitch reception for a short gain outside of the early touchdown. Green Bay and Washington over the next two weeks offer promising matchups for opposing passing games as Bryant looks to get back on track.
2013 Week 15 vs GB (17 / 11 / 153 / 1 rec)
After seeing only 13 targets over the previous two games, Tony Romo and Bryant were determined to getting going this week against Green Bay. Bryant created separation on his routes, especially crossing over the middle, with regularity. His after-the-catch skills were on display as he ran over Morgan Burnett in the red zone on one occasion and eluded a defensive back twice on another reception to gain first down yardage. The deep targets, however, eluded the pair as Romo's accuracy down the field was fleeting. Big plays were available, but rarely executed for the Dallas offense this week. Bryant eclipsed 100 yards in the first half alone, but the potential for a huge game, 200 or more yards and multiple touchdowns, were in the cards. Bryant fought for contested targets against single coverage, but those targets were contested largely because of off-target passes by Romo. On his highlight play, Bryant corralled a jump ball in the back of the end zone over a defender's attempt at an interception. While in the air, Bryant located the end line and got both feet in-bounds. As the clock ticked down and Dallas had squandered a big halftime lead, Bryant left the field with over a minute to play and headed to the locker room. Despite 153 yards and seeing a season-high 17 targets, Bryant and the Cowboys absorbed crucial home loss this week.
2013 Week 16 vs WAS (11 / 4 / 73 / 1 rec)
Bryant nearly doubled the second-most active receiver in the passing game against Washington after 17 targets a week ago. While Bryant caught just 4-of-11 targets, three of his receptions were key components to Dallas' victory. In the first quarter, Bryant landed hard on his shoulder following a sideline target. After being attended to, he was back in the lineup on the next offensive series. Bryant had two end zone targets, converting one into a touchdown. After Tony Romo escaped pressure in the pocket, Bryant shook free from an initial double-team in the back of the end zone. With a diving grab and a savvy dragging of his toes, Bryant staked Dallas to a 14-6 second quarter lead. In the third quarter, Bryant slipped out of his break on a comeback route, which Deangelo Hall read well, which led to an interception and Washington eventually taking the lead. Late in the game, Bryant took a smoke route 15 yards to set up Dallas' game-winning touchdown.
2013 Week 17 vs PHI (13 / 8 / 99 / 1 rec)
It was a slow start for Bryant against Philadelphia as a safety routinely played over the top and he was relegated to short crossing routes in the first half. In the second half, Kyle Orton made an effort to target Bryant down the field when he saw single coverage. The duo rarely exhibited strong chemistry, however, as Orton overthrew Bryant on three occasions. Bryant could not haul in a deep jump ball in the end zone on another target. On one of the game's biggest plays, Bryant was targeted on fourth-and-nine in the fourth quarter as Dallas was down by eight points. Bryant beat the single coverage, broke a tackle in front of the first down marker, and raced to the end zone for the long score. Bryant was targeted on a back shoulder fade on the two-point conversion attempt, but the pass was tipped away. Bryant had a strong second half, especially the fourth quarter, as Dallas' comeback attempt came up just short. Bryant had a strong finish to the season, scoring in the last five games for 13 total touchdowns on the season. Bryant is the first wide receiver since Randy Moss to begin his career with 35 or more receiving touchdowns in his first four NFL seasons.
2012 Week 1 vs NYG (5 / 4 / 85 / 0 rec)
Dez Bryant wasn't the focal point of this offense on Wednesday but still managed a decent game regardless. Bryant lost out on touchdown opportunities to teammates like WR Ogletree and Austin but he still made his presence known and made several big catches to help his team out. Bryant got a short grab over the middle and turned this into a big gain after the catch. Bryant is an incredibly physical and dominant receiver when his mind is in it. He showed his excellent hands too on a pass to the outside, just staying in bounds for the reception. Bryant made an explosive play downfield, getting ahead of the Giants secondary and running down the sideline before narrowly missing the goal line for the score. Bryant later had a slant pattern to help seal the victory for the Cowboys. Bryant was simply a piece the puzzle on Wednesday but still could have easily scored and will have many opportunities this season as Romo has great trust in his play making ability. Ogletree had such a big game that it was difficult for any other WR to produce as much as he stole the spotlight.
2012 Week 2 vs SEA (7 / 3 / 17 / 0 rec)
Bryant was 3rd on the team with seven targets, but it was a real struggle for the up and down WR. Bryant's first target was a bad drop, hitting Bryant square in the hands, the play before the Romo INT. After the Cowboys' 95-yard TD drive, the defense forced a quick three-and-out for Seattle. After working to get a 3rd and short, Romo found Bryant on a quick slant, but Earl Thomas dropped the hammer on Bryant and jarred the ball loose. Bryant seemed to really struggle after that, despite all his catches coming post dropped pass and the Thomas hit. Bryant fumbled his first catch, for one yard, but Dallas recovered. Two plays later Bryant made another catch, but was tackled immediately, only gaining five yards and Dallas was forced to punt. The following drive Bryant had his longest catch of 11 yards, but he bobbled the ball on the come back route and nearly dropped the easy completion. The communication was clearly off between Romo and Bryant, but Bryant has to do a better job maintaining focus for a full 60 minutes regardless of how the game is progressing.
2012 Week 3 vs TB (8 / 6 / 62 / 0 rec)
Bryant was excellent in week 3 against the Buccaneers. In addition to a 44 yard punt return up the right side in the fourth quarter that helped put the game away, Bryant was almost unguardable between the hash-marks. He made a number of tough catches in traffic using his body to shield smaller defenders from the ball and his athleticism to get to balls that were off-target. He had a pair of 18-yard receptions on deep post patterns as well. Bryant is running a lot of deep-crosses and posts to go with quick outs and bubble screens. The Cowboys seem intent on getting him the ball all over the field and do not limit him to lining up on just one side pre-snap.
2012 Week 4 vs CHI (13 / 8 / 105 / 0 rec)
Dez Bryant finished the game with eight receptions for 105 yards and a two point conversion to end the game. However, the fantasy stats don't really tell the tale of how Bryant was a huge contributor in why the Cowboys lost this game. He was covered well by the Bears for most of the game, and didn't even have a pass thrown toward him until late in the first quarter. The play was on 3rd and 5, and Bryant ran a short curl route. Romo threw a good back-shoulder pass where only Bryant could catch it, but he didn't get his head around fast enough and the ball bounced off of him, killing the drive. On the next series, Bryant had two great catches for 16 and 10 yards, but killed the drive again on 3rd and 4 from the Chicago 38 when he failed to gain separation from Charles Tillman on a fly route, stumbled and watch the timing pass sail over his head, ending the drive on the Chicago 38. After the Bears kicked their first field goal to go up 3-0, on 3rd and 9, Romo recognized a blitz and expect Bryant to run a curl but instead, he ran a double move into a 'Go' pattern. Romo threw the pass to where he expect Bryant to be, and Charles Tillman made one of the easiest receptions of his career, returning it 25 yards for a TD. Yet Romo met with Bryant on the sideline and continued to feed him the ball, hitting him on two short passes (a slant and a curl). The second gave the Cowboys the ball on the Chicago 10, and Miles Austin scored on the next play, just before the half. On the opening drive of the third quarter, Romo hit Bryant on consecutive pass plays of 25 and 20 yards, and it seemed as if Romo and Bryant were finally in sync. But with just over two minutes left in the third quarter, and the Cowboys in desperate need of a score, on 3rd and 6 from the Chicago 22, Romo hit Bryant on a perfect square in, but Bryant lost focus and dropped the ball. The Cowboys had to settle for a field goal after that. In the fourth quarter, down 27 to 10, Bryant had beaten his man down the right side of the field - but when Romo hit him with the pass, he dropped it again. Romo went back to him on the next play to keep him interested, a short seven yard square in. Two plays later, after converting a critical 4th and 3, Romo hit DeMarco Murray over the middle for a five yard gain, but Bryant was flagged for an illegal shift, and the replay revealed that he looked like he wasn't focused on what was going on. While Bryant may be the most talented receiver on the Cowboy roster, it's clear that he doesn't always have his head in the game. Between the off-the-field issues, and his concentration lapses on the field, he's definitely a mixed bag of potential and liability. It will be interesting to see if the Cowboys adjust their game plans after the bye week to keep him more involved in the game.
2012 Week 6 vs BAL (15 / 13 / 95 / 2 rec)
Bryant had an excellent day against Baltimore up until the final play of the game. Despite being double-covered with a safety over the top on most plays, Bryant was able to use his size and strength to get open on a variety of routes. He primarily ran skinny posts and crossing patterns from the left side and was targeted an astounding 15 times by Tony Romo. Unfortunately, Bryant was unable to break many receptions for large gains as the Ravens were focused on keeping him from getting to full speed in the open field. He did still break tackles after the catch and at one point, carried a defender for five yards on his back to convert a first down. Bryant finished the day with 13 catches and two redzone touchdowns where he showed excellent hands and positioning to seal his defender off from the ball. However, Bryant had a chance to tie the game on a two-point conversion at the end of the contest and the ball bounced off of his chest. Tony Romo threw the ball quite hard but considering Bryant already had 13 receptions on the day and appeared locked in with his quarterback, it was surprising to see him not make what should have been a routine catch.
2012 Week 7 vs CAR (3 / 2 / 14 / 0 rec)
Dez Bryant registered only two receptions for 14 yards as Carolina CB Josh Thomas, replacing the injured Chris Gamble, did a decent job to keep him quiet. Dallas was unable to go downfield very often with Carolina playing a lot of two-deep, and so Bryant's threat was limited. He was also used on punt returns, including one punt that he strangely fielded at the five yard line. Bryant's lack of production can be attributed to the Panthers' defense rather than his own poor play.
2012 Week 8 vs NYG (11 / 5 / 110 / 0 rec)
Dez Bryant's day did not start off well on Sunday. Romo anticipated Bryant would run a square in pattern down the field but Bryant was going deep, causing Romo to throw the ball right to the Safety for the easy interception. Bryant was able to get wide open down the field later as the Giants blew the coverage. Bryant got a big play down the sideline but an even better throw from Romo would have resulted in a touchdown with all the space he had to work with. Bryant hauled in a lot of great catches down the sideline on fade patterns, simply blowing by his man and out leaping the defender for the big play. Bryant was able to get outside leverage and a step on the defender before catching the ball. Bryant also got some passes on curl patterns, picking up first downs and moving the chains. Bryant was very unfortunate not to score on the final drive. Bryant got his hands on the pass deep down the field in the endzone but his hand landed on the white paint first which resulted in the play being overturned and ruled incomplete. Bryant tends to make a lot of big plays on basic routes, such as fades/slants/streak patterns where the margin for error is small. Bryant's gaffes with regards to running the wrong route have occurred on timing patterns such as in's/curls/outs that he seems to struggle with more.
2012 Week 9 vs ATL (4 / 1 / 15 / 0 rec)
Despite being singled covered on short routes much of the game, Bryant was never able to really get going against the Falcons on Sunday night. With Asante Samuel providing tough man coverage and the Falcons pass rush collapsing the pocket, Bryant was unable to get in to his deep routes before Tony Romo had to throw the ball. Rather than adjusting the mix of deep crosses and double-moves Bryant was running, the Cowboys instead chose to complete safe passes to Jason Witten and Felix Jones underneath. The strategy led to multiple completions but an inability to connect with Bryant deep left the Cowboys with too many stalled drives and simply not enough ball movement to get them in to scoring position consistently. Bryant's best catch came on a 15 yard completion down the left side. On the play, Bryant drew an interference flag against Dunta Robinson but still managed to use his strength to fight through contact and make the reception. Bryant looked focused and ran crisp routes, he simply was not able to get in to the flow of the passing game with Tony Romo.
2012 Week 10 vs PHI (5 / 3 / 87 / 1 rec)
Bryant had an excellent game against the Eagles. He was able to come through with big plays at opportune times and was one of the main reasons Tony Romo had such an efficient day from the quarterback position. Bryant's two best catches came on deep throws from Romo down the right sideline. On his first reception, Bryant was able to haul in a 49 yard catch in double-coverage to move the Cowboys deep in to Philadelphia territory. On his last catch, Bryant was able to weather being interfered with by Dominique Rogers-Cromartie and make a sensational catch for a thirty yard touchdown that tied the game for Dallas. Bryant was only targeted five times as he primarily ran deep go routes and deep crosses from the right side. From the left side, Bryant primarily ran drag routes across the field and quick curls. Bryant continues to show sensational athleticism and appears to finally understand the timing required between quarterback and receiver to excel consistently on long pass plays.
2012 Week 11 vs CLE (15 / 12 / 145 / 1 rec)
It was a career day for the polarizing receiver. Without Joe Haden, the Cleveland secondary was no match for the Dallas receivers, especially Bryant, who had his way with favorable matchups. Without consistent pressure on Tony Romo, Bryant could have had a much bigger day. That said, his 145 yards were by far a career-high, his 12 receptions were second-most, and he scored his fourth touchdown in the past six weeks. He was mainly targeted on short throws as the Dallas offensive line rarely allowed time for deep routes and Bryant could take advantage of his physicality after the catch. Bryant drew three penalties on defensive backs in addition to his stat line and even showed some rare chemistry with Romo on a beautiful double move for a big gain. Bryant was rather quiet in the first half, as was the entire Dallas offense, until the third quarter when they shifted to shorter throws to compensate for the offensive line issues with protection. Romo missed Bryant on a deep route against single coverage with a short throw - that was likely a touchdown on a well-thrown pass. Bryant scored in the fourth to take the lead on a gorgeous Romo pass into the end zone, again beating single coverage. Bryant's lone missed opportunity came in overtime when he failed to haul in a third down slant route on the edge of field goal range. This was an example of the type of games Bryant owners and supporters have been expecting. He dominated the targets, took advantage of single coverage, and did not make any mental mistakes during the game. With the Redskins and the disinterested Eagles both coming to Dallas in the next two weeks and hosting New Orleans in Week 16, Bryant could be in line for more big games as the season heads down the stretch.
2012 Week 12 vs WAS (11 / 8 / 145 / 2 rec, 1 / 6 / 0 rush)
With Miles Austin out, the Cowboys down a heap of points, and Tony Romo running for his life, it was the Dez Bryant Show on Thanksgiving Day at the House That Jerry Built. Bryant absolutely exploded for one hundred and forty-five yards on eight catches and two scores, the second time in two games he has eclipsed the century mark. The Oklahoma State product caught a shallow crossing route pass from Romo and took it down the field - burning the meek Washington secondary - for an eighty-five yard score in the third quarter, and exhibited great ball control skills on a fourth-and-four pass from Romo into the end zone for another score that kept the Cowboys' faint hopes alive. Washington's underwhelming secondary had no solution for the overpowering Bryant, who seemed to run every route in the Cowboys' tree to help Dallas advance the ball down the field. Bryant did lose a fumble on an eleven-yard catch in the second quarter. Television coverage showed Bryant admitting responsibility for his mistake, and he would do his best to make up for his miscue as he proved pivotal in the Cowboys' unsuccessful comeback attempt.
2012 Week 13 vs PHI (6 / 6 / 98 / 2 rec)
Dez Bryant had a sensational game against the Eagles on Sunday night. Despite inconsistent and often erratic play, Bryant is clearly one of the most talented receivers in the league when he is focused and in sync with Tony Romo. He finished the day against the Eagles with 6 receptions and two touchdowns and was instrumental in the Cowboys victory. Bryant's first touchdown came on a busted play. On the play, Bryant lines up in the slot to the left and ran a quick out. Quarterback Tony Romo was flushed out of the pocket to the right. Sensing Romo was in trouble, Bryant turned back to the middle of the field where Romo threw him the ball. Bryant quickly accelerated to the middle of the field away from the defense before cutting upfield to the end zone. His second touchdown was equally impressive. On the play, Bryant caught a quick receiver screen from Romo on the right side of the field. He quickly darted upfield towards the end zone using his strength to muscle defenders backwards while showing excellent footwork to stay in bounds long enough to cross over the right pylon. Bryant's best catch came on a side line throw the to right side. Bryant ran a go route down the right sideline on the play and quarterback Tony Romo threw a low, hard pass to him. Bryant reached down behind the defender and caught the ball with one hand on his way out of bounds.
2012 Week 14 vs CIN (6 / 4 / 50 / 1 rec, 1 / -11 / 0 rush)
Dez Bryant salvaged his day with a late touchdown, but was held in check by a remarkably stout Adam 'Pacman' Jones on the day. Bryant's 3 non-touchdown catches went for merely 27 yards, as he just couldn't get anything going. Bryant did have a couple drops on the day, including a catch and drop after a big hit by Reggie Nelson on a controversial personal foul call. Bryant also had a -11 yard run on a curious end-around playcall that the defense simply swarmed. As mentioned, Bryant's touchdown catch came on a crossing route where the offensive line gave Romo time to develop, and Bryant displayed a good route and eluded a tackler while stumbling into the endzone. Unfortunately for him, there wasn't much else exciting on the day, as this was his lowest yardage output since Week 9.
2012 Week 15 vs PIT (9 / 4 / 59 / 1 rec)
Bryant caught his first pass against Keenan Lewis on a curl route when he wheeled Lewis around for a first down and 12 yards. Bryant caught a 14 yard pass on third and 15 that was negated for a holding call on the offensive line. Bryant caught a quick pass in the flat for a seven yard gain against off coverage. Bryant was having a quiet game, but Tony Romo found him in the endzone when he lost Keenan Lewis by adjusting to a back shoulder throw that the defensive back couldn't see. Bryant caught a deep comeback in single coverage against Keenan Lewis for 13 yards and a first down.
2012 Week 16 vs NO (12 / 9 / 224 / 2 rec)
To say Dez Bryant had a monstrous day would be an understatement. 224 yards and 2 touchdowns is solid for some quarterbacks, let alone wide receivers. Bryant consistently beat 1 on 1 coverage despite his injured finger, showing amazing ability to pluck balls out of midair, breaking tackles and creating yards after catch at will. Bryant's first touchdown was a 58 yarder that he snagged out of the air, beating 1 on 1 coverage. Bryant's second touchdown was also a 58 yarder, but was potentially even more spectacular. Bryant caught the ball on a short pass and proceeded to break tackles and create over 40 yards after the catch on his way to the highlight reel. Bryant also had several other huge catches on the day, including a 26 and a 41 yarder. The 26 yarder was on a critical 3rd and 10 conversion, while the 41 yarder was another play which he simply manhandled his 1 on 1 coverage. Inexplicably, after the second half opened, the Cowboys really didn't get the ball in Bryant's hands, which may have been a mistake. Bryant didn't have any noticeable missteps on the day, and is clearly in the upper echelon of wide receivers in the NFL at this point.
2012 Week 17 vs WAS (8 / 4 / 71 / 0 rec)
Bryant led all Cowboys receivers with seventy-one receiving yards in Sunday night's loss against the Redskins. The third-year receiver also suffered late-game back spasms that caused him to exit the field of play. Surprisingly enough, the press coverage from oft-maligned Redskins cornerback DeAngelo Hall kept Bryant from making a substantial impact in the NFC East showdown. Bryant and quarterback Tony Romo did connect for a twenty-four yard completion on a critical third-and-fourteen, where Bryant exhibited incredible body control to catch the ball in bounds and complete the play. Bryant's timing with Romo was impeccable - Romo threw the ball before Bryant was able to turn around to make a play.
2011 Week 1 vs NYJ (8 / 3 / 71 / 1 rec)
Dez Bryant was well on his way to having a huge game when he had to head to the lockerroom with cramps (something which afflicted several players on both teams). He later returned but was not himself the rest of the game, though he was targeted four more times. However, his touchdown in the first quarter showed how tough he is to stop. On the play, Bryant ran a short route into the end zone, well covered by Antonio Cromartie. Quarterback Tony Romo threw a high jump ball, which Bryant went up to catch. Cromartie never left the ground, but even had he jumped, it seemed as though Bryant would have leapt over him anyway. If Bryant continues to have one issue, it seems like it might be his temper. While cramps certainly got him off his game, it also seemed as if the Jets' secondary was getting into his head. He spent a lot of time jawing with them and he play fell off while he did so, especially after the Jets put Revis on him. Combined with the cramps, this might also have limited his impact once he returned to the game.
2011 Week 3 vs WAS (4 / 4 / 63 / 0 rec)
Bryant must have been struggling with his thigh. You would think that this would be the night he would explode. Monday night football, big division game, no Miles Austin... Yet he was really nothing more than a possession receiver. The explosiveness he showed early in the game against New York is gone, so it has to be an injury thing. Also, Dez didn't seem to be on the field regularly, as there were times where he wasn't playing, which would be unusual for your number 1 WR. Still, when he caught the ball he was such a force to bring down. Just so strong, and on 2 of his receptions he literally dragged defenders downfield with that impressive strength. Also, he made the games biggest play on the final drive. On 3rd and 20, he saw Romo in trouble, immediately took off downfield, caught the ball and turned upfield for a first down. The Cowboys really need a healthy Dez Bryant, and it's still scary to imagine how good he might become, but at this point it's still just something we imagine, because Bryant hasn't been able to translate it to the field, at least not on a consistent basis.
2011 Week 4 vs DET (5 / 3 / 37 / 2 rec, 1 / 5 / 0 rush)
Bryant went from a game time decision to the start of the Dallas offense - at least in the first half. On the opening series, Romo floated a beautiful rainbow pass down the left side of the field where Dez was working one on one. He went up over the defender, made a great catch and came down for the first TD of the game. In the second quarter, again working one on one, Bryant ran down to the end zone, turned around and the ball was right there. He made another tough catch and hung on and he was taken down for his second TD of the game, putting the Cowboys up 14 to nothing at that point. In the second half though, he was shut out, with his only real contribution being a great 34 yard rainbow pass that looked like a catch at first, but Bryant bobbled it as he was pushed out of bounds. The play was reviewed and overturned.
2011 Week 6 vs NE (8 / 4 / 78 / 0 rec)
Bryant once again showed that he has the physical tools to dominate in the NFL. The Patriots spent much of the day rolling a safety to Bryant's side, particularly in shotgun situations where a pass seemed imminent. Despite this, he was able to concentrate on the ball and muscle his way to extra yardage on his receptions. Bryant primarily ran quick outs and hitches to go with drag routes across the middle of the field. When targeted, Tony Romo tended to get the ball to Bryant quickly in an attempt to give him time and space to make something happen in the open field. Bryant's best catch came in the second quarter as the Cowboys were driving. He took a quick out pass on the right side, faked inside, and bolted to the sideline leaving two Patriots in the dust. His agility and acceleration were on display as he easily outran the Patriot defense on the way to a 33 yard gain. Bryant did show frustration after the Cowboys attempted a shovel pass on third and goal from the six yard line in the fourth quarter. It is hard to imagine that his physical size and strength wouldn't be an advantage near the end zone. Bryant was held catchless in the second half for the third time this year in a situation to watch.
2011 Week 7 vs STL (8 / 5 / 90 / 1 rec)
Dez Bryant continued to show that he is as nearly uncoverable of a receiver as there is in the NFL. After pregame comments that the Cowboys were "unbeatable", Bryant performed very well. Tony Romo likes to get the ball to Bryant at the sideline when coverage has slid off of him at the line of scrimmage. Against St. Louis, the Rams defenders were playing off Bryant at the line of scrimmage allowing Tony Romo to throw the ball to him quickly at the snap. Bryant's best play, however, came on his touchdown catch. On the play, he lined up wide to the right of the line of scrimmage. He gave a slight hesitation move at the snap then darted out and up the sideline, laying out for a diving catch in the front right corner of the endzone for his fourth touchdown of the season. Bryant has almost no trouble getting off the line of scrimmage against single-coverage and his pure strength makes him a tough matchup on the run as well. On a deep cross in the second quarter Bryant hauled in the ball, pushed two defenders off of him, and rambled upfield for extra yardage.
2011 Week 8 vs PHI (5 / 3 / 28 / 0 rec)
Dez Bryant, like Miles Austin, was unable to make much of an impact on the game against the Eagles until Philadelphia had built a large lead. Bryant was held without a catch in the first half and when he did manage to catch the ball in the second half, he was immediately wrapped up for virtually no gain. Bryant ran a number of short routes including slants and designed screens in the second half. Like Jason Witten and the rest of the Cowboys, he was essentially unable to make anything happen once the ball was in his hands due to an aggressive Eagles defense. Most of Bryant's downfield routes took too long to develop as the Eagles pass rush forced Tony Romo to get rid of the ball quickly.
2011 Week 9 vs SEA (9 / 4 / 76 / 0 rec)
Dez Bryant continues to be a matchup nightmare for opposing defenses. He is too strong for most corners and too fast for most safeties. When he has the ball in the open field, Bryant is showing top-tier ability in creating extra yards and fighting off defenders. Bryant's best catch was undone by a vicious Seattle hit. On the play, Bryant lined up in the slot to the left and ran a deep crossing route. He caught the ball in stride and looked to have a clear path to the end zone. The Seahawks safety, however, closed the gap quickly and hit Bryant at the one yard line, jarring the ball loose. Bryant also had a 39 yard reception on a first quarter pass. On the play, he lined up to the left side (as he normally does), broke up field to the sideline and caught the 39 yard pass in stride just before going out of bounds. Dez continues to run go routes and drag patterns across the middle of the field to go with bubble screens designed to get him the ball with blockers in front of him.
2011 Week 10 vs BUF (6 / 6 / 74 / 1 rec)
Bryant helped spark the blowout with a very nice 34 yard touchdown grab on the first drive of the game. Bills corner Leodis McKelvin had great coverage on him but Bryant simply jumped over the top of him and took the ball away. From that point forward, the Bills did a better job of keeping a safety over the top and that helped open things up for Laurent Robinson on the other side. Bryant caught the other 5 balls thrown his way but most came on shorter routes. With the game turning into a blowout pretty quickly, the Cowboys shifted to a more conservative approach in the second half and that limited the opportunities for Bryant and the passing game.
2011 Week 11 vs WAS (8 / 3 / 68 / 1 rec)
Bryant got things going early in the game with the aforementioned 22 yard touchdown. He made one cut and then ran toward the right pylon, leaping in the air, grabbing the ball and just slipping in for a touchdown. Bryant is so good with the ball in the air, but as is often the case, seems to disappear at times during the game. After that touchdown, he got open on the right sideline for a 20 yard gain, and then didn't record another catch until overtime. Romo did go for him in the 2nd half a few times, but the Redskins played him very physical and Dez didn't seem to react well to it. At times he appeared a little tentative. While we know he can outjump defenders, he has yet to prove that he can be an extremely physical and punishing receiver across the middle. He seemed to freeze up a few times running across there, and as such wasn't able to get as many receptions as the targets indicate he should have.
2011 Week 12 vs MIA (6 / 3 / 35 / 0 rec)
Bryant had a fairly quiet game from a statistical standpoint. However, his contribution would be hard to overstate. The Dolphins seemed fully committed to keeping Bryant from going over the top and making a big play. As such, they had a corner playing him close to the line of scrimmage and a safety rolled over behind the corner for deep coverage on a majority of passing downs. Bryant has very little trouble getting off the line of scrimmage against smaller defenders but it was apparent against Miami that the disruption at the line of scrimmage combined with the constant pressure faced by Tony Romo took Bryant out of his game. Regardless, Bryant was a solid blocker in the run game and the extra coverage he drew no doubt helped open things up for Laurent Robinson (who had two touchdowns on the day).
2011 Week 13 vs ARI (15 / 8 / 86 / 1 rec)
Bryant did a great job working against a tough corner (rookie Patrick Peterson) but had his share of drops as well. He was clearly the go-to receiver for Romo. Early in the game, Bryant took a short button hook catch upfield for an easy 20 yards. He followed that up with a missed pass on 4th down -not his fault, just an errant throw - and lost another as Peterson took him down hard on one play. His touchdown was on a quick slant play, and showed that he is a big time target in clutch time.
2011 Week 14 vs NYG (2 / 1 / 50 / 1 rec)
Dez Bryant was kept quiet in this game for the most part, only salvaging his value with a late 50-yd touchdown which was wide open and turned out to be an easy, walk-in score. Bryant was targeted prior to that a few times, but Romo preferred Robinson in this game.
2011 Week 15 vs TB (4 / 4 / 40 / 1 rec)
Bryant had a quiet game for the Cowboys, returning kicks and punts, along with his four receptions. His first catch was on a quick slant - a nice catch and run for 16 yards. It set up the Cowboys' first TD. Bryant added a TD of his own near the end of the first quarter. On the play, Romo had plenty of time - rolled out and extended the play. The defense lost track of Bryant and when Romo found him, he was wide open in the back of the end zone. His highlight reel catch of the day though, was on a simple five yard slant at the start of the third quarter. On the play the defender made a great play, and knocked the ball loose from Bryant's hands. However, Bryant showed great concentration, controlling his body and keeping the ball in play long enough to reach up with his left hand, scoop the ball in for a great one-handed grab. It was easily the most spectacular catch of the day, even if it was only for five yards.
2011 Week 16 vs PHI (8 / 6 / 62 / 0 rec)
Dez Bryant struggled to get any major production in this game, most likely due to the play of his backup QB McGee who leaves a lot to be desired in terms of accuracy and play making when compared to Romo. Bryant caught a nice slant pattern over the middle and tried to make something big happen, while unsuccessful, still made a big first down for his team. Bryant caught a high pass over the middle from QB McGee on a rollout and picked up another first down for his team. He had a chance at a deep shot from McGee but the pass was excellently defended by a PHI CB and broken up at the last second. Bryant got fewer looks than normal as McGee struggled with pressure from PHI and many of his passes were simply check downs that Bryant never got a chance to catch.
2011 Week 17 vs NYG (8 / 6 / 70 / 0 rec)
The Cowboys tried heavily to get WR Bryant involved in the passing game but it fell far short of what was needed on Sunday night. Bryant was unfortunate not to get a big play early in the game as Romo overthrew him deep with a lot of field in front of him if he was able to haul in the pass. They treated him as a punt returner on the field - simply trying every way possible to get the ball in his hands so he could try to bust open a big play. Romo threw a lot of short passes, screens and quick outs to Bryant to try to accomplish this but he was never able to break the big one. Bryant used his size and strength to haul in the short passes but the Giants secondary tracked him well after the catch and he couldn't break free. Bryant and all of the DAL receivers suffered from a poor first half from the entire offense and never got anything going. Bryant is clearly far ahead on the depth chart of Austin and is even getting out produced by WR Robinson, as defenses focus most of the attention on Bryant. His game also relies on deep balls down the field but Bryant was never able to get a deep look as Romo was under fire from the pocket a lot in this game and looked also to WR Robinson to make some plays.
2010 Week 1 vs WAS (12 / 8 / 56 / 0 rec)
This was Dez Bryant's first NFL game action since missing most of preseason with an ankle injury. Romo got Bryant involved early by making several quick throws to him out in the flat. Bryant held onto the passes but was not strong enough to break out of a couple DeAngelo Hall tackles. Bryant was also on the field as the Cowboys punt returner but did not have much opportunity to do anything. Romo targeted Bryant deep in double coverage and relied on Bryant throughout the game especially during the game ending drive.
2010 Week 2 vs CHI (2 / 2 / 52 / 0 rec)
Bryant looked very comfortable in the Dallas offense on Sunday against the Bears. His first touch was on a punt return that he returned for a touchdown. Bryant field the ball on the Dallas 38 yard line, hesitated a moment while his blocks developed, and then dashed through a seam to the left side of the field before speeding up the sideline for a touchdown. Bryant also caught two balls as the Cowboys third wide receiver. Noticeable on Sunday was Bryant's ability to get to top speed quickly, not just on the punt return but on his routes as well. Bryant runs with a head of steam and shows that once he gets off the line of scrimmage he is a load to handle. The Cowboys are likely to utilize Bryant even more between the twenties as his size and speed create matchup problems for the opposition's nickel corner. Dez was only called on to run a handful of different routes Sunday, including deep slants and out patterns. While his cuts aren't nearly as sharp as Miles Austin, Bryant does sink in to his cuts well and seems to have the footwork of an experience receiver already.
2010 Week 3 vs HOU (6 / 4 / 50 / 0 rec)
Dez Bryant continues to grow in to being a star receiver right in front of Cowboys' fans' eyes. He was spectacular again on Sunday against the Texans and appears more and more comfortable with the Dallas offense as the weeks pass. He had two fantastic catches against Houston on successive plays in the second quarter. On the first, he caught a deep pass from Tony Romo down the right sideline despite being interfered with by the Texan defender (the penalty, however, was not called). On the very next play, Bryant caught a hard pass in traffic for a ten yard gain and a first down, helping extend the drive that would result in the Cowboys first touchdown. Bryant gets up to speed quickly and his size poses substantial trouble for smaller cornerbacks. Bryant isn't as quick as he is fast, but his route-running is that of a veteran and his hands have been very impressive to date. Bryant looks very similar to former Cowboys' receiver Terrell Owens in his ability to get off the line of scrimmage and get to his spot quickly, regardless of the route he is asked to run.
2010 Week 5 vs TEN (6 / 3 / 22 / 0 rec)
Bryant was used as the team's third receiver in three wide sets and as the team's fourth receiver in sets that featured Jason Witten split out as a receiver. He finished the day with three short receptions on bubble screens and quick slants. Bryant did tweak his ankle again and left the game in the second quarter. He did, however, return and does not appear to be significantly injured or a threat to miss time due to injury in the coming weeks.
2010 Week 6 vs MIN (3 / 1 / 31 / 1 rec)
Bryant was quiet for most of the game, but was a big part of the Dallas 4th quarter. His first target and reception was also his first professional TD catch - a 31 yard reception early in the 4th quarter. The route was basically a go route, and Bryant just blew by CB Lito Sheppard. Sheppard tried to make a play on the ball, but Bryant stayed focused and caught the tip for his first career TD reception. It turned out to be his only catch of the day. Bryant also had a nice 34 yard punt return on the next series, but it was called back due to a holding call. Bryant remains the #3 receiver on the team, and with the fierce play of Roy Williams the last few games, it looks like Bryant will remain the #3 option.
2010 Week 7 vs NYG (7 / 4 / 54 / 2 rec)
Bryant was one of the only bright spots on an otherwise terrible day for Dallas. He scored a touchdown after fielding a deep punt, slipping a tackle taking it straight up the middle for 93 yards. He showed his playmaking ability whenever he touched the ball by breaking tackles and getting extra yards. His first receiving touchdown came in garbage time with 3 minutes left on a short a pass that he took around two Giants defenders into the end zone. His second receiving touchdown came with less than a minute left on a short pass that he caught in stride and ran by the Giants defense 15 yards into the end zone.
2010 Week 8 vs JAX (9 / 7 / 84 / 0 rec)
One silver lining in the Cowboys offensive struggles has been the emergence of Dez Bryant as a playmaker. Bryant is clearly in the mold of Brandon Marshall or Terrell Owens in the sense that he can make plays with his abilities and size with and without the ball. His best catch came on a diving sideline grab that saw him get one elbow and one foot down inbounds to pick up a key first down as the first half wound down. Unfortunately, the Cowboys could not convert the drive in to any points and went to halftime down 14-3. Otherwise, Bryant was all over the field catching out routes, crossing patterns, and hitches. Quarterback Jon Kitna's confidence in Bryant appeared to grow as the game went on as well, most evident in the fact that Bryant was targeted 4 times in the second half on critical down-and-distance situations.
2010 Week 9 vs GB (10 / 9 / 86 / 1 rec)
Bryant continues to be the lone bright spot for the Dallas Cowboys on their abomination of a season. In week 9 Bryant was Jon Kitna's go to WR and which helped Dez reach career highs in targets, receptions, and yards (also adding a TD). He was effective all over the field and continues to show terrific hands and dangerous run after the catch abilities. He may end up being one of the top WR's to own during the 2nd half of this season.
2010 Week 10 vs NYG (5 / 3 / 104 / 1 rec)
Dez Bryant continues to develop as a game changing receiver. He had an excellent day against the Giants and was clearly one of Jon Kitna's favorite targets on critical downs. On one two play sequence, Bryant appeared simply uncoverable. On the first play, Bryant streaked down the left sideline and made a tough catch in tough coverage for a 44 yard gain. On the next play, Bryant caught the ball right at the goalline, bobbled it while diving, and brought it in for a clear catch and touchdown. The play was initially ruled an incompletion but was a clear touchdown upon review, giving the Cowboys a lead they would never relinquish. Bryant is primarily being lined up on the left side and running routes between the hashmark and the sideline.
2010 Week 11 vs DET (4 / 3 / 8 / 1 rec)
Despite only having three catches, Dez Bryant continues to impress. He appears to be Jon Kitna's preferred target outside the hashmarks and he is making the most of those opportunities. Bryant had two impressive catches in a row on the Cowboys first drive Sunday. On the first, he caught an errant Kitna throw with one hand, shoved a defender off of him, and turned upfield for a short gain. Later in the drive, he lined up split to the right and caught a quick outside slant for a touchdown over the outstretched arms of the defender. Bryant is improving with each week and shows the ability to make tough catches all over the field regardless of coverage. He is getting better at using his body to shield defenders and his excellent hands have been on display in the last three weeks.
2010 Week 12 vs NO (6 / 0 / 0 / 0 rec, 1 / 0 / 0 rush)
The Saints considered Bryant to be the #1 threat at WR from the Cowboys and built their defensive game plan around limiting his impact on the game. It worked perfectly and Bryant finished the game without a reception. As the game wore on, Bryant became visibly frustrated on the sidelines and the coaching staff had to calm him down. Bryant had just one carry on an end around in the 1st quarter while Miles Austin was in the locker room having an X-Ray on his forearm. Bryant looked uncomfortable on the play and fumbled the ball after taking the hand off. He was able to recover it and get back to the line, but the play resulted in no gain. Bryant was targeted on several passes late in the game, but one was thrown behind him, one came up short and one was batted down at the line incomplete.
2010 Week 13 vs IND (3 / 1 / 14 / 0 rec)
Despite showing drastic improvement throughout the season, Bryant was relatively quiet against the Colts. He did have one reception on a short pattern to the right side of the field, but otherwise rotated with Roy Williams in the WR2 position. Williams actually spent more time on the field then Bryant as the Cowboys established the run and utilized Williams' superior blocking talents to the outside. Unfortunately, Bryant broke his ankle when tackled on a kick return in the fourth quarter and appears to be lost for the season.