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Can Dez Bryant Finally Get to a Conference Championship Game?

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t been in a NFC Championship Game since 1996 after the 1995 season. 25 years of divisional round disappointments and bad luck. For a team as popular and as talented as the Dallas Cowboys have been at different times since their last championship game, it’s always shocking that they haven’t found a way to break through.

And it’s not because they haven’t had their opportunities. They’ve come close. While they won’t have an opportunity to change the narrative this season, one former Cowboys great will be playing for a shot to make a championship game this weekend; Former Cowboys Wide Receiver Dez Bryant.

Dez Bryant, the Cowboys all-time leader in touchdown receptions, came close on two occasions to help the Cowboys break through that divisional round ceiling. Both games came against the Green Bay Packers and both had varying circumstances that led to their defeat.

Facing the Packers at Lambeau Field in the 2014 divisional round, the Cowboys were playing that game close to the chest, as was the style of Jason Garrett’s smash mouth football teams. Things were going well until the NFL’s league leader in rushing yards, DeMarco Murray fumbled the ball and the Packers were able to recover. The Cowboys were driving on that series and had a great chance to score. The fumble hurt, and it set the stage for a play that will live in infamy forever. The Dez Bryant “catch” at the end of the game.

Then in 2016, with rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott leading the way, the Cowboys got off to a slow start, falling behind 21-3 early in the second quarter. The Cowboys rallied thanks to an epic performance by Bryant who caught nine passes for 132 yards and two touchdowns. It was Dez’s play in the second half of that game that helped the Cowboys tie it late before an incredible catch by Jared Cook along the sideline set up Mason Crosby’s game-winning field goal.

But now, a resurgent Dez Bryant has an opportunity to break through that divisional round glass ceiling with the Baltimore Ravens. Though he didn’t register a catch in the Ravens Wild Card win over the Tennessee Titans, he’s still getting his legs back under him after getting bumped to the 53-man roster in late November.

Prior to his first game action this season, Bryant hadn’t played since 2017. That’s a long stretch to be out of football. With a Ravens team that wants to run the ball with Lamar Jackson, JK Dobbins, Gus Edwards, and Mark Ingram, Bryant’s blocking ability fits right in.

It is to be determined how much playing time Bryant will get, however facing an explosive Buffalo Bills offense that is putting a ton of points on the board lately, this could be a game where Bryant gets a lot more opportunities if the Ravens are having to play catch up.

Even though he hasn’t played a down for the Cowboys in three years, Bryant remains a beloved figure in both the locker room and with the fan base. In a great matchup Saturday night between the Ravens and the Bills, Bryant’s opportunity to get to a conference title game for the first time provides a reason for Cowboys fans to tune in.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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  1. I hope so , and i think they’ll do it , i’m not so bullish on the Bills anymore after what i saw from the bills in that game vs. Colts , the Colts really should’ve won that game or at least sent it to OT if it wasn’t for the bad missed field goal and other things that went the Bills way when it should’ve went to the Colts .

    Dez you will always beloved by me as well as many here in CowboysNation , wish we could’ve gotten it done together but it is what it is , you still one of my favorite WRs that I’ve gotten to watch in my life time

    #ThrowupTheX

  2. Happy to see Dez have a chance at going to CC. I think he got a raw deal being let go by Cowboys. If I remember correctly, two of the main reasons for that was, he could not separate well enough and run routes well enough for Prescott. I thought that was ridiculous. Dez is/was a great WR.

  3. I hope ole Dez does good! He was a good player for us while he was here and I believe that folks should show some type of loyalty to players that were Cowboys and have moved on! I also believe when a player leaves he shouldn’t trash the Organization with whom he spent his career with! By the way I hope the Bills win it all if for nothing else for Jim Kelly!

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