Bryant a giant as Dallas extends streak
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
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.
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.
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.