A forgettable return for Dez Bryant

GREEN BAY, Wis. -- Last January at Lambeau Field, Dez Bryant stood at his locker in disbelief that his 31-yard catch was overturned by replay in the Dallas Cowboys' divisional playoff loss to the Green Bay Packers.

He didn't answer questions after that game so much as he pleaded that he indeed made the catch.

Over the last 11 months the debate has continue to rage on, even as the NFL has sought to clarify the catch rule in the offseason.

With the Cowboys returning to Lambeau Field Sunday, much was made of Bryant's catch/non-catch leading up to kickoff.

Bryant would not make an impact in the Cowboys' 28-7 loss to the Packers.

He caught one pass for 9 yards. He dropped two passes. He had another pass bounce off his hands and into the arms of Packers cornerback Sam Shields for an interception on the Cowboys' first drive.

"Not at all," Bryant said when it was mentioned the game was not what he had envisioned. "Not at all."

Bryant's one catch came at the line of scrimmage with the Packers defender playing off him. It was basically a running play. He was targeted six times in the game, second-most on the team behind Jason Witten.

He changed his gloves two more times than he had catches because of the rainy weather.

"I wish I never put gloves on in the first place," Bryant said.

In the third quarter Bryant had his second drop, inexplicably leaping for a pass that was thrown chest high from Matt Cassel.

"I don't think the conditions were ideal for anybody to throw and catch," coach Jason Garrett said. "The ball was wet the whole game. The rain was pretty consistent. But, you know, he has great hands. He's a great receiver. Unfortunately there were some opportunities that we weren't able to cash in on."

The most important opportunity came on the Cowboys' first drive. On third-and-goal from the Green Bay 3, the Cowboys lined up in an empty set. Bryant ran underneath as the Packers blitzed. Cassel's pass was a little high and a little off.

"It's a timing thing," Bryant said. "And I knew Matt was getting flushed out a little bit. When I came around it was too late. I was trying to find him, but I couldn't find him. The ball came, and it was a little too high. If I would have seen him I would have gotten my whole body underneath it. But things happen."

In the second quarter, a replay reversal cost Bryant a 28-yard catch after he picked the ball off the shoulders of safety Damarious Randall. Unlike last January, there was no debate whether the ball hit the ground.

"I'm not going to lie to you: When they said no catch, I'm like, 'Forget it, man, it's no catch. Move on,'" Bryant said. "I feel like that is what I was doing the whole game. You got to move on. You can't dwell on strange situations."

After Shields was knocked from the game with a concussion, the Packers put safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix over the top of Bryant with Randall mostly lining up at corner.

"Over 50 percent of the game, as y'all seen, I was getting doubled," Bryant said. "So it wasn't really nothing I could do. (Clinton-Dix) was over the top when I lined up. That corner got one thing to do, and that's contain me. He ain't got to worry about getting beat over the top."

This was the eighth time Bryant has had one or no catches in a game in his career, and the first time since Nov. 10, 2013, against the New Orleans Saints, but the catch in that game went for 44 yards. The only game in which he had fewer yards in a game with at least one catch was Nov. 21, 2010, his rookie season, when he caught three passes for 8 yards against the Detroit Lions.

As he built himself into one of the NFL's best receivers, Bryant has been doubled countless times, but he was still able to make plays.

What was different Sunday?

"That's a good question, but I'm going to answer," Bryant said. "You got to move around, man. You got to keep figuring out where I (go), line me and (Witten) up on the same side a little bit, try to make things happen.

"If I'm alone, I'm going to get doubled, plain and simple."