Dez Bryant's drop ruins superb performance

KANSAS CITY -- Nobody asked Dez Bryant about any of the brilliant plays he made Sunday afternoon at Arrowhead Stadium.

His spectacular leaping catch and sensational run for a 53-yard gain despite pass interference didn’t come up during his glum meeting with the media. Neither did his diving grab on a deep ball. Not his touchdown catch, either. Not a word specifically about any of Bryant’s nine receptions for 141 yards.

All the attention was on the big play that Bryant let get away in the fourth quarter of the Dallas Cowboys’ 17-16 loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

The crowd of 76,952 gasped as quarterback Tony Romo threw the ball deep near the right sideline. Bryant had once again torched Chiefs cornerback Brandon Flowers, getting a few steps behind him on a go route. Romo’s throw was perfect, hitting No. 88 in stride.

But Bryant, a receiver who makes circus catches look routine, dropped the ball.

“I took my eyes off of the ball,” Bryant said. “I shouldn’t have. That was a real bad mistake on my end. That is not winning football. That’s something that I just don’t do.

“Can’t do that. Can’t win like that.”

Romo called the drop by his No. 1 receiver “an anomaly.” Bryant swore he “won’t ever make a mistake like that again.”

To be clear, Bryant’s drop didn’t cost the Cowboys the game. There are about a dozen plays that could be considered critical turning points in the one-point loss.

This one didn’t even end that drive. And it certainly didn’t kill the Cowboys’ comeback hopes. It happened on second down with 8:57 to go with the Cowboys trailing by four points at the time.

But the glaring mistake by Bryant, who battled back tightness in the second half, was the most memorable moment of the game. That’s because of the what-coulda-been nature of the play -- maybe he stays in bounds and takes it to the house; at the minimum, the Cowboys are on the move at midfield -- and due to the fact that Bryant is a rising superstar who ranks among the most fascinating players in the NFL.

“They all drop ‘em and Dez catches a lot more than he drops,” owner/general manager Jerry Jones said, minutes before he stopped Bryant on his way to the trainers’ room and whispered in his ear for a bit. “Some of his plays really had us in position to win this ballgame.”

A week after serving as a high-profile decoy in the season-opening win over the New York Giants, Bryant pretty much was all the Cowboys had going on offense. Dallas rushed for a measly 37 yards, and the Chiefs kept tight end Jason Witten (three catches, 12 yards) and receiver Miles Austin (three catches, 31 yards) from making their marks on the game.

Bryant blew up in the first quarter for 100 yards and a score on five catches, keying the Cowboys’ early lead. His other four catches helped the Cowboys put points on the board, coming during Dallas’ two drives for field goals in the second half.

Frankly, it was the kind of freakish display expected of Bryant, who is blessed with more physical gifts than any receiver other than Detroit’s Calvin Johnson and put in the work to take full advantage of his phenomenal talent.

Too bad none of those plays helped ease the sickening feeling in Bryant's gut as he exited the stadium.

“I’m not satisfied at all,” Bryant said. “You can’t ever be satisfied with a loss. Congratulations to Kansas City, but we let this one go.”