Thursday, January 10, 2013
Key plays, No. 6: Dez Bryant gets fooled
By Jean-Jacques Taylor
At some point this offseason, Jason Garrett will lean back in his favorite chair, close his eyes and ponder what might have been.
There were 2,035 plays in the Cowboys’ 2012 season, but some are more memorable than others -- and it doesn’t matter whether they went in the Cowboys’ favor or against America’s Team.
What if Dez Bryant’s pinkie hadn’t come down out of bounds against the New York Giants in the final minute? Or what if a Washington safety hadn’t knocked the ball out of Bryant’s arms, breaking up an apparent touchdown, in the fourth quarter?
A play here or there and the Cowboys would’ve made the playoffs. It’s the reason why Garrett is forever saying every play in every game matters.
“It allows you to argue your point to your players that it’s really really close each and every week in this league,” Garrett said. “The importance of getting all of the details right and making sure you’re on point can make a difference in this ball game and here’s why.
“All these things that happened to us this year where plays went against us. If that play had been different we would’ve won that game. Or, similarly, plays that went for us that helped us win ballgames. There were a number of those too. It’s the nature of the NFL.”
Charles Tillman baited both Dez Bryant and Tony Romo and returned an interception for a 25-yard touchdown -- one of two defensive scores in the game for the Bears.
Situation: Third-and-9 from Dallas 21
Score: Chicago, 3-0
Time: 2:46 left in second quarter
Taylor's Take: The veteran tricked the youngster and the result was yet another defensive touchdown for Chicago. Cornerback Charles Tillman tricked Dez Bryant into thinking he was playing a coverage that called for Bryant to run a deep route instead of a curl. Romo threw the curl and Bryant wasn’t even in the screen when Tillman intercepted the pass. He returned it 25 yards for a game-breaking touchdown and a 10-0 lead.
Season Impact: This was among the low-points of Bryant’s season. He made a poor read on his option route and the result was a game-changing interception. He had one 100-yard game in his career and there were questions about whether he’d ever get it. Of course, he wound up with 92 receptions for 1,382 yards and 12 touchdowns. This loss dropped the Cowboys under .500 for the first time this season.