Plays that shaped the season: No. 7

January, 9, 2014
Jan 9
11:00
AM ET
Editor's note: In this series, Jean-Jacques Taylor counts down 10 plays that shaped the Cowboys' season.

Dez Bryant AP Photo/TUSP/Jay BiggerstaffDez Bryant couldn't hold onto a pass that could have given the Cowboys a late lead in Kansas City.

Play No. 7: Dez Bryant's dropped pass

Situation: Second-and-10 from Dallas' 21
Score: Kansas City leads, 17-13
Time: 9:03 left in fourth quarter

Taylor's Take: This was supposed to be Bryant's breakout season, and he’d dominated the Chiefs all day with eight catches for 128 yards and a touchdown through three quarters. Bryant beat Brandon Flowers, who had man-to-man coverage, off the line of scrimmage and Tony Romo lofted a perfect pass to Bryant. It clanged off Bryant's hands at the Dallas 46. If Bryant had caught the ball cleanly, there’s a good chance he would have scored because the safety was late coming over to help. A 2-0 start would've been huge for a team coming off consecutive 8-8 seasons.

Season Impact: Bryant dropped too many passes, six by NFL.com's count and 11 according to profootballfocus.com. This drop was huge because the Cowboys’ defense had just made a terrific stand, forcing a punt after a turnover, and this play probably would’ve given Dallas the lead. It was the kind of play big-time receivers are supposed to make. Dropped passes are among the reasons Bryant had a good season -- 93 catches, 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns -- by his standard instead of a dynamic season.

Quote: "I took my eyes off of the ball. I shouldn’t have. That was a real bad mistake on my end. That is not winning football. That’s something that I just don’t do. I can’t do that -- can’t win like that." -- Dez Bryant
Jean-Jacques Taylor joined ESPNDallas.com in August 2011. A native of Dallas, Taylor spent the past 20 years writing for The Dallas Morning News, where he covered high schools sports, the Texas Rangers and spent 11 seasons covering the Dallas Cowboys before becoming a general columnist in 2006.

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