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Thursday, January 9, 2014
Plays that shaped the season: No. 7

By Jean-Jacques Taylor

Editor's note: In this series, Jean-Jacques Taylor counts down 10 plays that shaped the Cowboys' season.

Dez Bryant
Dez 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