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Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Detailing Dez Bryant: Still waiting for breakout day

By Tim MacMahon

Dez Bryant didn’t have the breakout game a lot of people anticipated against a Buccaneers secondary that allowed 510 passing yards the previous week.

Bryant was a total nonfactor in the first half against the Bucs, which frustrated him enough to have a brief sideline confrontation with Tony Romo, who had his hands full avoiding hits from the Tampa Bay defensive line all day.

After the dust settled, Bryant had a much more productive second half, when Jason Garrett gave him opportunities to make plays in the middle of the field.

Nevertheless, after three weeks of the season, we’re still waiting for Bryant to record his first 100-yard game or score his first touchdown. Heck, he hasn’t even been targeted in the red zone yet.

Our weekly throw-by-throw look at Bryant’s six-catch, 62-yard performance against Tampa Bay:

9-yard gain: Lines up wide left on second-and-13 from the Dallas 25 and runs a short in cut. He gets wide open by overpowering cornerback Aqib Talib, who got shoved out of the way when he tried to jam Bryant. He made slot corner Brandon McDonald miss after the catch.

Incompletion: Lines up wide left on third-and-18 from the Dallas 31 and runs and sloppy stop-and-go. Doesn’t get open against Tampa Bay’s soft zone coverage, which has three deep safeties. Romo throws the ball out of bounds.

Incompletion: Lines up wide left on second-and-10 from the Dallas 18 and runs a slant-and-go. That’s apparently not what Romo expected, as he throws the ball near the sideline.

2-yard loss: Lines up wide left on first-and-10 from the Dallas 20 and runs a quick screen to start the two-minute drill. He’s tackled immediately by Talib, who was playing press coverage and beat Miles Austin’s block.

8-yard gain: Lines up wide left on first-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 48 and runs another quick screen a few plays later. It works much better with Talib, who made the tackle, playing off coverage.

18-yard gain: Lines up wide left on first-and-10 from the Dallas 43 and runs a deep crossing route against man coverage. He gets enough separation to snatch the ball with no problem, but Talib tackles him immediately.

18-yard gain: Lines up wide right on second-and-5 from the Dallas 16 and runs another deep crossing route. Does a good job shielding Talib with his body and fighting for the ball.

11-yard gain: Lines up wide left on first-and-10 from the Tampa Bay 23 and runs a quick in cut. Breaks Talib’s tackle and drags safety Ahmad Black for about 5 extra yards before two other Bucs arrive to bring him down.