Dez Bryant had two sensational touchdowns on Sunday against the Detroit Lions, but his performance on the field was overshadowed by his multiple apparent sideline blowups at multiple individuals throughout the contest.
Dez Bryant. Catch of the year. No exaggeration. MUST-MUST-MUST-SEE - http://t.co/TIOPaxQXAv— NFL (@nfl) October 27, 2013
They weren't blowups according to Bryant, as quoted by Tim MacMahon of ESPN Dallas.
Per MacMahon, Bryant declared after the loss that his "passion is always positive...It's always positive. It's going to remain the same way...not saying anything wrong...not saying anything bad. It's all positive. That's just what it is."
Whether or not the antics were or weren't "positive" or not is up for debate, but what isn't up for debate is the fact that Bryant is in fact entitled to actually be enraged—if not only looking it on the sideline, Sunday—at his lack of targets against the Lions.
Bryant was targeted just six times in Sunday's game, coming up with three catches—two for touchdowns—and drawing a pass-interference call. But it was the timing of the targets that should surprise those looking at the play-by-play chart.
Cowboys Fail to Put Game Away in First Half
While every NFL fan watching the NFL game rewind of this contest will likely fast forward to the fourth quarter of this game, when Detroit put up 24 points, including the go-ahead touchdown with 12 seconds to go, the fact remains that this game should have been over long before that point.
The Cowboys blew 10-point leads on multiple occasions in the fourth quarter to allow the Lions to come back and make it a game.
But the real story is in the first half, when Dallas managed just 10 points of offense despite forcing four Detroit punts and picking off Matthew Stafford twice.
The Cowboys had a chance to put this game away in the first half and simply didn't do it.
Bryant Not Involved For Majority of the First Half
While the Cowboys were mired in their offensive first-half failures, No. 88 was waiting for a chance to make a play.
Bryant wasn't targeted for the first 29 minutes of the game, receiving just one touch on a running play of all things before the final Cowboys drive of the half.
When Sean Lee picked off Stafford for the second time in the half, Bryant finally got a target. He didn't come up with the catch, but he came back on the next play with a highlight-reel catch off of his helmet.
But those were really the only two chances that Bryant had to make a play for his team in the first half. Bryant wasn't turned to until it was too late, as far as making the Lions pay for their own offensive ineptitude was concerned.
No DeMarco Murray Should Have Meant More Touches for Bryant
While DeMarco Murray isn't necessarily the game-breaking running back that most teams crave in their lineup, he does add an extra dimension to the Cowboys offense when he is in the game.
In six games before his injury, Murray averaged 71 yards per game with a touchdown on average every other game. His replacement in Joseph Randle wasn't very successful against the Lions. Randle picked up just 26 yards rushing on 14 carries.
When the Lions were shutting down the run, the Cowboys could have turned to their playmaking wide receiver in the first half, but they didn't do so.
Dez Bryant should have gotten more touches against the egregiously bad Detroit Lions' secondary. After eight games, the Lions have the eighth-worst passing defense in the NFL, giving up over 272 yards passing per contest.
Tony Romo, Jason Garrett and the Cowboys didn't get Bryant in the game plan enough against Detroit, and ultimately it cost them on the scoreboard.
When Bryant made comments last week, via Clarence Hill of the Star Telegram, saying that he could do the same things as Calvin Johnson, it was likely in good faith that his quarterback would get him the ball more often.
Calvin Johnson to Dez Bryant... pic.twitter.com/Tno8cJ5oip— NFL Access (@NFL_Access) October 27, 2013
While Bryant hasn't (and likely won't) come out in the open and say that he didn't get enough touches, everyone sitting at home can safely come to the conclusion that he should have been targeted more.
The stars had all lined up for Dez Bryant to have an even better stat line than he finished with against the Detroit Lions. With two touchdowns on just six targets, it is abundantly clear that Bryant needs to be given more of a chance going forward.
As of now, he has the right to be mad at his quarterback and his coaching staff even if he won't acknowledge that anger in public.
Isaac Smith is a Detroit Red Wings featured columnist and a Dez Bryant fantasy football owner who wishes Bryant would have gotten more receptions for obvious reasons.