Originally posted on Fox Sports Southwest  |  Last updated 10/28/12
ARLINGTON, Texas Dez Bryant is a tease. He teases the Cowboys with his immense talent. And infuriates them with his mistakes. Sunday's 29-24 loss to the Giants was a perfect example of the two sides of Bryant. He helped the Cowboys fall behind 23-0 by causing two huge turnovers, then helped them erase the deficit and nearly win. Bryant's final contribution at the end encapsulated his career even more. With 10 seconds left, Bryant leaped in the back of the end zone and snared a 37-yard heave from Tony Romo. Bryant held onto the ball as his posterior landed safely in bounds. Touchdown. Cowboys win. The 94,067 fans who booed Bryant and the Cowboys earlier were now jumping out of their seats. The noise could have lifted the roof off of Cowboys Stadium had it not been opened just before kickoff. Then replays of Bryant's amazing catch showed a nagging detail. Before Bryant's body came down, he reached his white-gloved right hand out to break his fall. At least part of his hand touched the white border around the end zone first. When the replay booth got a look at it, the call was reversed. Only Bryant, perhaps the Cowboys' biggest enigma, could make a play so spectacular and so deflating at the same time. "When they took it away my heart just dropped," Bryant said. "I had my heart set on, if the ball was thrown to me, I don't care I'm going to come down with it. And I came down with it and I thought I was in. "It's just frustrating." It's also frustrating for the Cowboys and their fans to see Bryant and all his talent continue to be handicapped by his own mistakes. Whether it's running a wrong route, dropping a pass or getting into a domestic incident with his own mother, Bryant has been a near-constant headache. His failure to keep his hand in bounds Sunday was simply a natural reaction, an instinctive move anyone would have done. "To be honest, I didn't realize my hand was out until I saw the replay," Bryant said. Then again, Bryant's constant complaining to officials after incompletions is a natural, instinctive move for him. And while he can't be faulted for unconsciously putting his hand out, it seems like the great ones don't make that mistake. We know Bryant has the ability to be one of the great ones, but does he have the headiness? A prime example was Bryant's muffed punt return and fumble late in the first quarter Sunday. He turned his back to the pursuit to try to catch a punt over his head and whiffed on it. Somehow, he was able to recover the loose ball, but lost it again. The Giants recovered at the Cowboys'15 yard line and got a field goal out of it, extending their lead to 16-0. Compounding the mistake is that just a week ago at Carolina, Bryant fielded a punt over his head and nearly fumbled, pinning the Cowboys at their 12 yard line. "I was trying to get myself prepared to run," Bryant explained. "It's something I need to keep practicing on, keep my focus and stop trying to go before I have the ball." Bryant acknowledged that the Cowboys' coaches have talked to him about not trying to do too much by making tough catches on punt returns. "I love to make plays," Bryant said. "And I feel like that's my job, to make plays." Bryant was then asked if the coaches tell him not to do something, shouldn't he not do it. "Right, but like I said, it was something I thought I had," Bryant said. "It wasn't like we were backed up on the 10 (he muffed it at the 25). Next question, please." The Cowboys' first turnover could also be blamed on Bryant, who appeared to drift on a deep route across the middle, allowing Giants safety Stevie Brown to step in front for the interception. Romo and a coach quickly conferred with Bryant after the turnover. "It was no miscommunication," Bryant said. "It was more of, as I tried to flatten my route off, I was off-balance at the same time. The guy came down and made a great play." If there's an optimistic sign, it's that Bryant didn't check out mentally after the early mistakes. He was a big part of the comeback in catching a 55-yard pass to set up the Cowboys' first score. He caught a 30-yarder in the third quarter on the touchdown drive that cut the Giants' lead to 23-17. At the end, Bryant was targeted 11 times and finished with five catches for 110 yards. Not a bad game, but it could have been a great one if not for the mistakes. "There were some things that were good and some things that weren't as good for him," Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said. "We will just have to keep working on it in practice." Cowboys ownergeneral manager Jerry Jones maintained his faith in Bryant. It's now going on three seasons since Jones drafted Bryant in the first round, despite obvious warnings about Bryant's lack of maturity. "I don't think we even have to talk about how to coach him or correct some of the things that we need to correct in here with the coaches," Jones said. "But certainly we're going to get to a point with him that he can make those plays that he almost made at the end and not make those mistakes." Until then, Bryant's talent will continue to tease and taunt the Cowboys. Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
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