Daily Archives: December 16th, 2013

TOO PAINFUL TO WATCH: Dez Bryant explains why he walked off the field

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Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant took to Twitter last night to explain why he walked to the locker room with 1:21 left in the 37-36 loss to the Packers.

It came after the game-sealing interception from quarterback Tony Romo. Bryant walked off after the replay officials reversed the call on the field that the pass was incomplete, giving the interception to cornerback Tramon Williams.

Bryant, after declining to speak with reporters after the game, later explained his actions in a tweet on @dezbryant: 

“I walked back to the locker room because I was emotional…it had nothing to do with my teammates we had it… We fought and didn’t finish.”

Bryant was the only Cowboys player to leave the field early, but quarterback Tony Romo refused to criticize him for his actions.

“It’s an emotional game,” Romo said. “You get to the end there, obviously, it’s not fun for any of us to lose a football game. It’s not an enjoyable process the way it ends, no matter how it ends. It’s always tough emotionally so it is what it is.”

Bryant had a solid game, finishing with 11 catches for 153 yards and a touchdowns. However, he could have had better numbers as Romo underthrew him on two deep balls and overthrew him on another in the end zone.

“I think the worst thing you can do sometimes with Dez is overthrow him,” Romo said. “Obviously, you’d like to hit him perfectly in stride. He’s such a great athlete, he comes down with most of them. I look back and I wish I had one or two where I gave it a little bit more. But usually, I make sure if I err ever it’s slightly less because he always goes up and gets it. Obviously, I look back, I’ll push those down the field if I have that opportunity.”

RELATED: Dez Bryant couldn’t stand to watch Green Bay kneel the ball down

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Dez Bryant regrets it. He wishes he wouldn’t have walked off the field with 1:21 left and the Green Bay Packers a couple kneels away from a 37-36 victory over the Dallas Cowboys.

Bryant spoke about the incident Monday morning as the Cowboys were on their annual visits to area children’s hospitals, which included Bryant visiting Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

“I was wrong,” Bryant said. “It didn’t have anything to do with my teammates. I just … I couldn’t watch Green Bay kneel the ball down on the field after a tough loss like that.

“I was very emotional. I cried when I got into the locker room. I didn’t want to show that stuff on the sideline.”

The Cowboys blew a 23-point halftime lead and wasted an impressive performance by Bryant. He had 11 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. The TD catch might have been the most remarkable of all, as he grabbed the ball away from several Green Bay defenders and kept his feet inbounds near the back of the end zone.

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But that catch was overshadowed by Bryant’s early exit.

“Whenever I’m out on the football field, it’s all about the team,” Bryant said. “I’m a team guy and that’s what I think about and that’s what I focus on. I extremely, extremely apologize for leaving, but my teammates and coaches understand. I am a very emotional player and we didn’t finish.”

The hospital visit, though, did provide some comfort for Bryant and the other players to get away from the tough loss by bringing smiles to children’s faces.

“This is something I really enjoy doing,” Bryant said. “Whenever you’re able to make someone’s day, you should feel good about it.”

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Editor’s Comment: I’m going to share my own opinion of this situation. If you have one, I encourage you to express it in the comment section below. The media at large is making light of Dez Bryant’s emotional and tearful reaction to this loss. No, he shouldn’t have left. No, he will not do it again.

If you follow the Dallas Cowboys closely (like most regular visitors on this site), you already know how emotional Dez Bryant is. That’s a big part of his personality. HE’S DETERMINED TO WIN! The coaches and players are quick to point out that his emotions are one of the key elements that make his such a valuable member of the team. Most of the players that Jason Garrett has kept with his team, or brought in, have the same type of workmanlike traits. The thing with Dez is that he wears his emotions on his sleeve. He’s outwardly expressive. I think that’s a good thing and also believe it’s something that this locker room needs. A player that HATES losing that bad needs to be heard. With only two games remaining, this could be something that ignites or unites this team. They sure need it. The players on this roster want to win for Jason Garrett, the coaches … and veterans Tony Romo, Jason Witten, and DeMarcus Ware. You can add Dez Bryant to that list.

Photo above: Dallas Cowboys on their annual visits to area children’s hospitals, which included Bryant visiting Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth.

COWBOYS PACKERS GAME 14 RECAP: Dallas Cowboys mystified by meltdown | Postgame injury update | Dan Bailey

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ARLINGTON, Texas – Every Dallas Cowboys defender had the same mystified expression on his face – and understandably so.

The Cowboys’ much-maligned defense went into halftime having allowed three points and 132 yards of offense Sunday against Green Bay. Two hours later, they were addressing the issue of how they had allowed 301 second half yards and 34 second half points to the Matt Flynn-led Green Bay offense.

“Anytime you have a meltdown like that in the second half…you’re always asking what happened,” said Brandon Carr. “But we’ll know tomorrow, watching film. At the end of the day, you have to find a way to win your matchup — you have to find a way to get the job done.”

The Dallas defense dropped the ball in that regard just six days after surrendering 45 points to Chicago. The adjustments the Cowboys hoped to make after that blowout seemed to have taken effect in the first half, but they fell by the wayside as the Packers roared back.

Few will take more heat for that than the Cowboys’ veterans. While the Dallas linebacker corps completely reshuffled as a result of injuries, veteran players failed to step up. Jason Hatcher failed to post a tackle, while DeMarcus Ware finished with one assisted tackle.

“The quarterback threw the ball pretty quick, which was a good thing, but we’ve got to figure out a way to get DeMarcus in there more,” said Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones. “I would have thought he would be more of a factor in the game tonight, as well as Hatcher.”

Ware said during the week he needed to regain his typical form after what has been a disappointing season. Faced with such a disappointing performance, he said the Cowboys can only hope to correct the issues for the last two games.

“I’m always the same person. I go out there and play…I made some effective plays,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we need to get out, get off on third down, and we didn’t do that.”

For the time being, the Cowboys can only hope to push past another setback and try to find some answers.

“One of the toughest losses in my short NFL career — it was tough, man,” said Barry Church.

Assessing the Damage

Just what the Cowboys don’t need, and exactly what they’re already familiar with – more injury problems.

The defensive line couldn’t stay healthy in the opening weeks of the season, and now it’s the linebackers’ turn. Sean Lee missed the loss to Green Bay with the neck injury he suffered against Chicago. Fellow starter Bruce Carter also missed with a hamstring injury of his own.

That in itself is bad enough, but the Cowboys lost two more linebackers to injury against Green Bay, when Justin Durant aggravated his hamstring and Ernie Sims injured his hip.

“Honestly, I’ve never seen this before – that’s four top linebackers that’s out of the game,” Durant said.
Durant seemed primed for a big day after making a few nifty plays in the early going. But he was relegated to the bench before the end of the first quarter when he tweaked the same hamstring that’s been bothering him since the Nov. 10 loss to New Orleans.

Sims was the next to go when he appeared to hurt his hip tackling Eddie Lacy on the final play of the first half. He received X-Rays during the second half and will undergo an MRI on Monday.

“They told me I’m going to find out more tomorrow when I get the MRI,” he said.

The injuries left the Cowboys with two rookies, DeVonte Holloman and Cameron Lawrence, along with first-year linebacker Kyle Wilber. The trio combined for nine tackles in the loss.

“Those young guys went in there, they played hard,” Durant said. “I thought they did a solid job, we just couldn’t get it done at the end.”

Forgotten Foot

The late-game collapse overshadows what would have been a leading storyline had the Cowboys won – another huge performance from Dan Bailey.

The Cowboys kicker had his best performance of the season, as he nailed five field goals – three of them from 47 yards away or further – to help the Cowboys build a formidable lead. The five field goals gave him 85 for his career, which pushed him past Chris Boniol (81) for second-best in team history.

“Obviously today points were a premium. It’s just too bad we didn’t have more than they did at the end of the game,” Bailey said.

No one could blame Bailey for that fact. With five field goals and 18 total points against Green Bay, he upped his point total on the season to 97. More impressively, he improved his accuracy rating on the season to 19-of-21 – 90 percent.

In fact, Bailey hasn’t missed since the Sept. 29 loss to San Diego, which was a 56-yard kick. That track record is enough to given anyone confidence Bailey might have had a game-winner in him, had the Cowboys gotten him into position.

“There’s a minute and a half left and we had a chance to win the game, so we’ve been in those situations before,” Bailey said. “I had all the confidence in the world that we were going to go down and put the final points on the board. Sometimes it doesn’t work out your way.”

Here are some more notes from Sunday’s loss to Green Bay:

Dez Bryant finished today’s game with 11 catches for 153 yards and a touchdown. His 11 catches marked his third double-digit reception game and were third in a game in his career – 13 at Baltimore (10/14/12) and 12 vs. Cleveland (11/18/12).

Bryant’s 153 yards gave him his 10th career 100-yard game and were good for second in his career. He is the 10th Dallas Cowboy with 10-plus 100-yard games.

For the season, Bryant has 1,061 yards, his second career 1,000-yard season, the 24th season in which a Cowboy reached the 1,000-yard barrier and the 30th time a Cowboys player crossed the 1,000-yard mark. Bryant is the ninth different Cowboy with multiple 1,000-yard seasons.

For his career Bryant has 38 touchdown catches to tie Terrell Owens for eighth in team history.

Murray’s 134 yards gave him his third 100-yard game of the season and the seventh of his career. The 134 yards were sixth in a game in his career.
With his 100-yard outing last week, it was the second time in Murray’s career he had back-to-back 100-yard games.
Murray’s rushing score today was his eighth of the season – the most by a Cowboy since Marion Barber had 10 in 2007.

With his 25-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter, Jason Witten broke a tie with Tony Hill to record the third-most touchdowns in team history. He has 52.

COWBOYS PACKERS POSTGAME GUTCHECK: Dallas Cowboys surrender to Green Bay Packers

ARLINGTON, Texas –  Three Dallas Cowboys writers share their initial feelings of the Cowboys’ 37-36 loss to the Packers at AT&T Stadium.

Helman: I thought perhaps Denver or Detroit would wind up being the most brutal loss of the 2013 season. But this one might take the cake, when you consider it was a home game against a backup quarterback and a dinged-up defense. I’m not a football coach, but the fact that the Cowboys handed the ball to DeMarco Murray just three times in the fourth quarter, while holding a lead for most of those 15 minutes, is almost unfathomable. The Cowboys got away from what worked, and it hurt them in the end. That goes for the defense, as well, as a solid performance in the first half was wiped away in the nightmarish second. The good news for the Cowboys is that Philadelphia’s loss to Minnesota keeps them in control of their postseason prospects. But it’s hard to feel great about that after what just happened in AT&T Stadium.

Kavner: The Cowboys lost to a team that was 1-4-1 previously without their starting quarterback, and the Packers looked like that type of team the first half of the game. Then it all imploded in a way that gave national pundits all the talking points they could possibly want to talk about, from late Tony Romo interceptions to questionable play-calling to a defense that couldn’t stop anything late. I said in my gut feeling the Cowboys shouldn’t lose this game, and they shouldn’t have. But they did, even with Dez Bryant going for 153 yards and DeMarco Murray going for 134 yards. It was as big as a collapse as a game can be when squandering a 23-point lead, emphasizing all of the many flaws this team has experienced in recent years. It’ll take a massive answer to get over the loss this week and the next for the Cowboys, who, despite the enormity of this loss, still have their playoff hopes alive after the Eagles lost to the Vikings.

Eatman:  Until about 5:00 (CDT) it was looking pretty good. The Eagles lost, the offense was rolling and the defense was playing lights out with one pick already. Then, the Cowboys woke up and realized what they are – incredibly average. I mean, there’s no way they could be 8-6 right? They have to get back to the 7-7 level. Well, they did. And I don’t really care what Matt Flynn did or how he is. To me, the backups were a complete wash. What the Cowboys were rolling out there on defense is something you’d see in the fourth quarter of the fourth preseason game. So yeah, Flynn should be able to carve them up. But the Cowboys have no excuse for what happened on offense. They lost this game with about three minutes to go when they didn’t run the ball to the 2-minute warning. Instead, they tried to get greedy and it cost them. Tony Romo apparently checked out of the pass for the first interception. If that’s the case, then that’s inexcusable.  He’s got to be smarter than that. Getting the Packers to use their timeouts and run out some clock is the top priority at that point. You don’t check from a run to a pass and throw a side-arm pick over the middle. But he did. He deserves blame for that and not getting the job done earlier to put this thing away. 

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