- Tim MacMahon, ESPN Staff Writer
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Romo has an E.F. Hutton impact on Bryant. When the Dallas Cowboys' quarterback speaks, the receiver listens.
Romo's words -- the criticism shouted on the field and the calmer encouragement on the sideline -- played a critical role in Bryant regaining his composure for crunch time.
Romo yelled at the receiver after Bryant's fumble fortunately rolled out of bounds but basically killed a potential scoring drive early in the fourth quarter. Bryant's only response was to nod his head, knowing Romo was right.
"Oh, it wasn’t good. ‘You’ve got to hold on to the ball!’" Bryant said when asked what Romo told him at the time. "He’s being a leader. He’s exactly right. He chewed me out. That’s what he’s supposed to do. He helped me get my mind back right, and that’s what I did."
Several players approached an obviously distraught Bryant on the sideline after that series, encouraging him to keep his head in the game. Romo's words resonated the most with Bryant.
"Hearing those guys, it makes me feel good that they believe in me and count on me like that," Bryant said. "When I hear Tony say something, it’s a whole different ballgame. It’s a whole different story because I know he counts on me more than anybody. So I had to come. I had to bring it."
Bryant caught three passes for 32 yards, including two third-down conversions, on the Cowboys' 15-play, 64-yard game-winning drive, playing a key role in fulfilling the prediction Romo made in the huddle before the series started.
"Basically he was saying we’re going to go out there and win this game and we’re going to go home," said Bryant, who followed his leader to help the Cowboys climb back atop the NFC East standings.