Last week’s tirade on the sidelines during the Dallas Cowboys last minute loss to the Detroit Lions shined an even brighter negative spotlight on Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant. The Cowboys coaches and players spent a lot of their time after the game defending Bryant’s actions as simply a result of his unbridled passion for the game. But it appears that same passion that was spun so positively by the Cowboys all week, has hurt them negatively on-the-field during Sunday’s win over the Minnesota Vikings.
With Dallas narrowly holding on to a three point lead at the end of the third quarter, Bryant was called for an offensive pass interference penalty on a third down and 15 play. While the referee was attempting to announce the call, Bryant removed his helmet and began screaming at the official. That resulted in a unsportsmanlike penalty. Due to this additional call, Dallas lost an opportunity to retry the third down play and was forced to punt.
Bryant was bailed out by his defense, as the ensuing Vikings’ drive was stopped due to an interception by cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Still, Bryant’s passion could have really hurt the Cowboys in this close game. What did actually hurt them was his two dropped balls on critical third down plays. Despite being targeted 11 times, Bryant recorded just six receptions for 64 yards.
Dez did redeem himself a bit when he made a critical 34 yard reception with 1:20 on the clock during Dallas’ final and game-winning scoring drive. It was the Cowboys longest play of the day.
The 24-year old Bryant plays with a lot of passion and is considered one of the best wide receivers in the game. But it’s hard to defend him as a coach, teammate or a fan when his mouth starts writing checks his play doesn’t cash. At some point, either Bryant will grow up and become more of a professional…or his passion, on and off the field, will be come his ultimate undoing in Dallas.