IRVING, Texas (AP) — Dez Bryant made the rounds Monday trying to explain why he left the field early in Dallas' crushing loss to Green Bay.
The emotional receiver just couldn't watch the Packers take a knee three times for a 37-36 victory after the Cowboys led 26-3 at halftime. He was afraid he was going to cry in front of the cameras, so he says he took the tears to the locker room.
Now it's time for a two-game test for the Cowboys' biggest playmaker and the resolve of Tony Romo after his latest failure in key moments.
Beat Washington and Philadelphia to finish the season, and Dallas (7-7) ends a three-year playoff drought. Lose to the freefalling Redskins on Sunday, and the Cowboys might be eliminated before they even play their final game.
All this after they had a near-certain victory in hand against the Packers that would have pulled them even with the Eagles atop the NFC East and given them a chance to wrap up a playoff berth at Washington.
"The trend's not going to continue because we're going to do what we need to do," Bryant said Monday in a mostly empty locker room at the team's training facility. "This whole group in this locker room, we believe and we're going to keep working."
Bryant, who made similar headlines earlier in the season with a sideline rant during another deflating defeat at Detroit, was waiting for reporters so he could tell them that leaving with time still on the clock "was absolutely not right."
That was essentially the message in his conversation with coach Jason Garrett, who said his star receiver wasn't disciplined.
"It's difficult for everybody when things don't go well and he needs to understand how to handle that," Garrett said. "I think he'll handle that better in the future. He was very apologetic to me and was concerned about the situation."
Bryant's latest sideline moment didn't face as much scrutiny Monday as Romo's decision to check out of a running play before throwing an interception that gave Green Bay another chance down 36-31 with less than 3 minutes to go.