By Nick Shook
Read full post on NFL.com
The Cowboys are 2-1 after three weeks. Plenty of teams would like to be in their position.
But what’s up with Dez Bryant?
The Cowboys wide receiver has been unusually quiet on the stat sheet through three games, catching just 11 of 27 targets for 114 yards and two touchdowns. But he’s faced a who’s who of cornerback talent, going against New York’s Janoris Jenkins in Week 1, Denver’s Aqib Talib in Week 2 and Arizona’s Patrick Peterson on Monday night. That’s about as rough as it gets.
On Monday night, Bryant caught both of his two targets for 12 yards and a hard-fought touchdown. On paper, it leaves him in the lower half of the league’s top 100 receivers. Bryant isn’t worried about that, though, because he knows what matters is on tape, and in the win column.
“I felt good the whole night,” he said after the win Monday night, via the Dallas Morning News. “I made the most of my opportunities. Great team win.”
Dallas overcame an early touchdown from the Cardinals to score 14 unanswered, thanks to an excellent performance from quarterback Dak Prescott and strong second half play from receivers Brice Butler and Terrance Williams. Bryant’s touchdown, though, might have shown the most effort of the entire night, which is part of why recent discussion about his statistical drop-off and potential declineare humorous to the receiver.
“That’s funny to me,” Bryant said. “That don’t bother me because I know who I am. Just because certain people don’t see me get targets this game, it don’t mean nothing.
“I feel like I got great film, I got great tape. That’s what I care about. That was my whole focus, coming out and putting great film out, and I think I did that [Monday night].”
Great tape goes beyond the stat sheet, and is a major reason why football is much, much more than how productive a guy is for your fantasy team. Through three games, it’s been evident opponents are focusing on doing whatever they can to take Bryant out of the game and force Dallas’ other receivers to beat them. On Monday night, that receiver was Butler. And make no mistake — that touchdown from Bryant was a darn good play.
If Bryant keeps commanding such attention, Dallas will be happy to utilize its other talents and continue earning victories. And if Bryant helps the team win, even without the ball in his hands, his stats won’t matter to anyone involved with real football, anyway.