ARLINGTON — The Cowboys were looking for some breathing room late in the fourth quarter and Dez Bryant provided the big play.
With Tampa Bay backed up to its one-yard line, Bryant received a punt near midfield, broke toward the Cowboys sideline and found a hole. The third-year receiver then cut it up field and looked like he might go the distance. He was eventually tackled at the six-yard line. The Cowboys settled for a field goal that extended their lead to 16-7.
“I was feeling it,” Bryant said of the 44-yard return. “I was like, ‘Man, something big needs to happen.’ The other 10 guys did their part. I hit the corner and I seen the cutback and I hit it. I didn’t capitalize on it by scoring. I should have. I should’ve stayed to the outside.”
Bryant struggled to contribute during the fourth quarter last season and the former first-round pick was continuing that trend heading into Sunday’s contest.
Could that punt return spark Bryant? That remains to be seen. But Bryant, who finished with six catches for 62 yards, says he doesn’t change the way he plays throughout the game. Whether it’s the first quarter or the fourth, he says he carries the same mentality.
“I feel like I play the game with so much passion and emotion,” Bryant said. “That’s just me. I don’t think you can change that. You just got to fight to play this game and I feel like I have that. I think that’s a great trait to have.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he was pleased to see Bryant respond the way he did with the fourth quarter return.
“I’ve been wanting him to find that straight line past that first wave,” Jones said. “He did that. When he got that running room, he’s hard to defend.”