The Dallas Cowboys have released wide receiver Dez Bryant after eight seasons with the team. Bryant has not been able to recapture his great form from 2012-2014, and Jerry Jones opted to save $8.5 million in cap space by letting Dez go.
Bryant is still only 29 years old and should be able to find another team fairly quickly. Instead of speculating on where he’ll end up next, I’ve decided to compile some of Dez’s best plays against the Seattle Seahawks, whom he faced five times with three different quarterbacks at the helm.
#5 – Goal line stop (2011)
In his first meeting vs. Seattle, Bryant finished with 4 catches for 76 yards and pretty much had a touchdown. Tony Romo fired a strike to Bryant, who had beaten Brandon Browner, then got past Earl Thomas, and lowered his shoulder for the end zone. In a freak accident, some rookie scrub named Richard Sherman collided with him and the ball flew backwards, to be scooped up by Roy Lewis. You could say that this was the first instance of the Legion of Boom forcing a goal-line fumble. Dez took part in something truly historic, and Seahawks fans ought to appreciate his contributions.
#4 – Fat guy with football! (2012)
Down 13-7 and with the game still in reach, Tony Romo threw a short pass to Bryant, who evaded Chris Clemons, only to be stripped by Brandon Browner. Somehow the Seahawks didn’t recover this fumble but Doug Free did, giving us one of those cherished moments where a fat guy gets to possess the football. Thanks, Dez!
#3 – Shutdown corner (2015)
It’s a known fact that some wide receivers are capable of playing cornerback. Troy Brown did this on several occasions with the New England Patriots, and Russell Wilson threw an interception to Julio Jones.
In a Week 8 matchup at JerryWorld, Matt Cassel was having a truly rotten day, even by Matt Cassel standards. He decided to test Bryant’s coverage skills by heaving a long ball down the field towards Richard Sherman. Just when it appeared as if Sherman would make the catch in tight coverage, Bryant heroically jarred the ball from Sherman’s grasp on the way down, leading to an incomplete pass. The referees ridiculously penalized Bryant for pass interference, which just shows you how much the zebras are in Seattle’s back pocket.
#2 – Punch Out!! (2017)
— Samuel Gold (@SamuelRGold) December 24, 2017
In desperate need of a jump start, Bryant gave the Seahawks some much-needed life towards the end of the 1st half of last year’s Christmas Eve showdown in Arlington. With his first catch of the game, Bryant played an impromptu game of Punch Out!! with Byron Maxwell. The game only lasted three seconds before K.J. Wright decided play time was over and that the moribund Seahawks offense could get back on the field to eventually score a crucial touchdown.
#1 – Tip drill (2017)
Two plays after making a difficult 33-yard sideline catch to send the Cowboys deep into Seattle territory, Bryant showed off that classic tip drill technique that has been a staple of the Seahawks defense for years. He deflected Dak Prescott’s pass right into the waiting arms of Wright, in what can only be described as a makeshift tribute to The Tip. As an MMA writer, I’m somewhat taken aback by Bryant’s apparent decision to throw a spinning back elbow at the very end of this sequence, but am nevertheless impressed with his versatility. Seattle would score a touchdown off of this excellent Bryant-to-Wright teamwork, and send the Cowboys out of playoff contention in their own stadium.
In total, Bryant caught 16 passes (on 38 targets) for 211 yards and 0 touchdowns. Not once was his catch rate higher than 50% in any of his five appearances vs. Seattle. If there is to be a sixth encounter, it won’t be as a member of the Cowboys. At least we’ll always have these memories.