ARLINGTON, Texas – The Cowboys best receiving threat was slowed down Monday night.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant finished with three catches for a season-low 30 yards and one touchdown in the 20-17 overtime loss to Washington. Bryant was targeted just twice in the third quarter, none in the fourth and once in overtime.
There were two plays Bryant should have made that appeared to be drops, including one in the end zone yet Washington doubled him with tight coverage from a cornerback and then used a safety over the top to prevent deep throws for a majority of the game.
The coverages Bryant faced Monday isn’t something new, just part of the deal that comes with being one of the playmakers on offense.
“Shading a little bit,” Bryant said of the safeties who were near him. “A little bit of [zone] and they did a good job.”
Normally when defenses employ tight coverages on Bryant it opens things for receiver Terrance Williams and tight end Jason Witten. Those two combined for 11 catches and 139 yards and one touchdown. According to ESPN's Stats and Information, the Redskins tied a season-high by sending five or more pass rushers on 60 percent of dropbacks against the Cowboys.
Yet with more defenders coming at quarterback Tony Romo it should have cleared things for Bryant one on one.
"We moved him around some," coach Jason Garrett said of Bryant."He made some plays in the game and obviously you get used to him making a ton of plays and making a huge difference."
Bryant's second-quarter touchdown catch was just amazing. He caught a short pass behind the line of scrimmage with one hand. The tip of the ball landed in the cup of his hand and after shaking a defender he carried safety Ryan Clark into the end zone.
Bryant didn't want to talk about the touchdown catch, instead focusing on the loss.
Garrett called the touchdown catch amazing.
"To make the catch that he made and then get in the end zone, it was a pretty special play," Garrett said. "But he gets a lot of attention and he always gets a lot of attention. He's got to fight through it."
On the final play of the game, Bryant was doubled and was able to scramble free with Romo moving out of the pocket.
Bryant was open for a moment near the Cowboys’ sideline but Redskins cornerback Bashaud Breeland stepped in front to knock the pass away.
“We let this one slip away,” Bryant said. “We have to look at ourselves in the mirror. As a team, we let one slip away. I’m scrambling and trying to get open and try to give him a target, guy did a good job on the ball.”