Dez Bryant after a touchdown in the season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles.
What kind of year was it for the Dallas Cowboys? Dez Bryant was the team’s best player. And Dez Bryant had a disappointing season.
Back in August I had such high hopes for the receiver that I proclaimed on this here blog that “Dez Bryant is about to embark on the most prolific season ever by a Dallas Cowboys’ receiver.”
Like his team in most of the games, Dez was good. Just not quite good enough.
Bryant earned his first Pro Bowl berth and was certainly Dallas’ best offensive weapon. But he fell short of the team records I figured were within his grasp.
Catches - He finished with 93, 8th in the NFL but 18 short of Michael Irvin’s record of 111 set in ’95. Problem is he only had 10+ catches once (11 against the Packers) and had four games in which he was targeted six times or less. He’s got to eliminate the drops and fumbles from his game – huge drop against the Chiefs and not coming up with the two-point pass from Kyle Orton against the Eagles quickly come to mind – but the Cowboys have to throw to him even more.
Yards – He finished with 1,233, 13th in the NFL but fewer than his 2012 season and 370 shy of Irvin’s record of 1,603 set in ’95. Bryant only had four 100-yard games. In fact, he had more games below 50 yards receiving (5) than he games of over 100. Bryant broke tackles and routinely turned 8-yard catches in to 14-yard gains. But he didn’t catch enough deep balls, evidenced by just four grabs of 40-plus yards. The NFL’s leading receiver, Cleveland’s Josh Gordon, had nine.
Touchdowns – He finished with 13, third in the NFL behind only New Orleans’ Jimmy Graham and Denver’s Demaryius Thomas but two short of Terrell Owens’ franchise record set in ’07. Eventually the Cowboys learned that Bryant deserves a target on every possession inside the 10 and he caught a touchdown in each of the last five games. Problem? In the middle of the season he went without a score in five of six games. Interestingly, in Dallas’ eight losses, Dez scored 10 touchdowns and had only three in their eight wins.
Add in the sideline tantrums, the inexplicable penalty for removing his helmet and leaving the Packers’ loss early, it was a disappointing season for Bryant. At least for some of us.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.