<
>

Dez Bryant sets TD record, but is focused on playoff success

12/29/2014

LANDOVER, Md. -- Dez Bryant is all about winning right now.

Obviously, he’s happy about setting the Dallas Cowboys' single-season franchise record for receiving touchdowns with 16 after scoring two on Sunday, but he wasn’t really that interested in talking about it.

"Oh man, it feels good [to set the record], but that’s not what I want," Bryant said. "We’ve worked too hard and have got an opportunity to do something special. That’s on my mind."

Each of Bryant’s touchdowns Sunday were terrific individual plays that highlighted his growth as a player, while demonstrating just how difficult it is for opposing teams to defend the 26-year-old receiver.

Play press coverage and he’s gotten better at his release, and if he gets a step he never gives it back. Play off and the Cowboys will throw him a hitch or a slant, and he’s hard to bring down when he’s on the move.

And he makes more contested catches than any other player on the roster. If he’s blanketed, he can still catch the ball.

After DeSean Jackson gave Washington a 7-3 lead in the first quarter on a 69-yard wide receiver screen, Bryant took a hitch 65 yards down the left sideline for a touchdown on the Cowboys’ next possession.

He caught the ball, made one move on David Amerson and sprinted down the left sideline for a touchdown.

On the next series, Amerson had Bryant covered tightly in the corner of the end zone, but Bryant maneuvered his body so he could snatch the ball and still get his feet down. After coach Jason Garrett challenged the play, the ruling on the field was reversed and Bryant was awarded a touchdown.

"I knew I was in," Bryant said. "I know the end zone. The ref said I was on the white, but there was a big ole divot on the green where my foot hit."

Bryant is playing his best football, when it matters most.

In the seven games since Arizona held him to a pair of catches for 15 yards, Bryant has 38 catches for 685 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also has 13 catches of 20 yards or more.

"Dez is really a remarkable player," Jason Witten said. "As a teammate, as leader, as a veteran guy, you take a lot of pride in seeing the growth of Dez and DeMarco mature as players. Dez is a unbelievable player, he's a dynamic player, and it's great to see his growth."