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Sunday, December 9, 2012
Patience, pain tolerance pays off for Dez Bryant

By Tim MacMahon

CINCINNATI – Dez Bryant spent most of the series on the sideline, getting the full attention of the Cowboys’ medical staff.

Bryant sprained the index finger on his left hand when he got tackled after his second catch of the day, which didn’t come until there were less than 10 minutes remaining in the game. That was the first play of a must-score series that started with the Cowboys trailing the Bengals by nine points.

That drive ended with Bryant strutting into the end zone, scoring a 27-yard touchdown immediately after going back into the game with a couple of his fingers taped together.

Bryant burned the Bengals two-man coverage -- a cornerback playing underneath with a safety over the top -- with a beautiful crossing route. He got cornerback Leon Hall to bite on an out fake and burst across the middle to catch a bullet pass from Tony Romo before turning upfield to score easily.

Bryant’s finger, which was in a splint after the Cowboys’ 20-19 win, didn’t bother him on his seventh touchdown in a five-game span that includes four Dallas victories.

“To be honest, I was so pumped about the game, I didn’t feel anything,” Bryant said. “I wasn’t thinking about it. If I was thinking about it, I probably would have dropped it. I went in with a relentless attitude and just wanted it.”

This game followed the recent trend of Bryant being a nonfactor in the first half and a force after halftime.

Bryant didn’t have any catches at halftime Sunday. He was targeted only twice by that point, dropping a ball thrown a bit behind him on one of those. He finished the game with four catches for 50 yards and the score.

“With this game, what I’ve realized is that you’ve got to be patient,” Bryant said. “It will come. When your opportunities come, you’ve got to make the most of it.

“(Receivers coach Jimmy Robinson) tells me that all the time. I thank him, because he tells me that so much, I have no choice but to believe it.”

With every touchdown, there’s more reason to believe in Bryant.