Bryant a gi­ant as Dal­las ex­tends streak

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - SPORTS - By AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS in Min­neapo­lis

Dez Bryant sashayed through the Dal­las Cow­boys locker room with an un­mis­tak­able swag­ger and had noth­ing but good things to say about his ad­ver­sary this time around.

It was a stark change from a week ago, when he sparred with Wash­ing­ton Red­skins cor­ner­back Josh Nor­man on Thanks­giv­ing.

The trash-talk­ing Dez and the po­lite Dez share one thing in com­mon: they both win.

Bryant caught four passes for 84 yards and the go-ahead touch­down in the fourth quar­ter on Thursday night, help­ing the Cow­boys (11-1) win their 11th straight game with a 17-15 vic­tory over the Min­nesota Vik­ings.

In a hard-fought bat­tle with cor­ner­back Xavier Rhodes, Bryant’s 56-yard

Score­board

catch from Dak Prescott set up Ezekiel El­liott’s one-yard TD in the first half.

Bryant also caught an eight-yard scor­ing pass in the fourth quar­ter after a fum­bled punt by Min­nesota’s Adam Thie­len.

“I knew com­ing into this game it was go­ing to be a tough match and I had to be on my ‘A’ game,” Bryant said.

“If I wasn’t, he can get the best of me. We had a good bat­tle. We shared our thoughts through­out the game. It’s nice play­ing games like that.”

El­liott rushed for 86 yards on 20 car­ries while Prescott com­pleted 12 of 18 passes for 139 yards and one touch­down as the Cow­boys ex­tended the long­est win­ning streak in fran­chise his­tory.

“It’s not the best game we played, but we showed up when we needed to and made plays at the end,” El­liott said.

Vik­ings quar­ter­back Sam Brad­ford threw a three-yard touch­down pass to Jer­ick McKin­non with 25 sec­onds to play, but the two-point con­ver­sion pass failed.

Brad­ford ar­gued for a penalty after he was hit in the face, but there was no call.

Min­nesota played with­out coach Mike Zim­mer after he had emer­gency eye surgery on Wed­nes­day. Vik­ings special teams co­or­di­na­tor Mike Priefer was el­e­vated to head coach for the game, and it re­mains un­clear how long Zim­mer will be out.

“I’m sick and tired of the reff­ing in this league right now,” Vik­ings de­fen­sive end Brian Ro­bi­son said.

“I’m sick and tired of it. You’ve got hold­ing calls all over the place that peo­ple don’t want to call.

“Brad­ford gets hit in the face at the end of the game and they don’t call it. I’m not lay­ing this loss on reff­ing, but at some point it’s got to get bet­ter.”

Brad­ford com­pleted 32 of 45 passes for 247 yards, Danielle Hunter had two sacks and Kai For­bath kicked three field goals for the 6-6 Vik­ings, who have lost six of their last seven games.

Key play

With the Cow­boys’ of­fense do­ing noth­ing, Kyle Wil­ber made the play of the game when he punched the ball out of Thie­len’s hand, then pulled it away from him as the two hit the turf.

Of­fi­cials ini­tially did not catch the fum­ble, but a headsup chal­lenge by Ja­son Gar­rett got the call over­turned and Prescott found Bryant in the end zone on the next play.

Cow­boys tight end Ja­son Wit­ten did not catch a pass, snap­ping a team-record streak of 130 straight games with a re­cep­tion dat­ing to 2008.

HAN­NAH FOSLIEN / GETTY IM­AGES / AFP

Cor­dar­relle Pat­ter­son of the Min­nesota Vik­ings is tack­led by Leon McFad­den (23) and By­ron Jones of the Dal­las Cow­boys in the fourth quar­ter of Thursday’s NFL clash at US Bank Sta­dium in Min­neapo­lis, Min­nesota.

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