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December 05, 2013

Dez Bryant's game against the Bears last season made him a better receiver

The Cowboys’ 34-18 loss to the Bears last year was the start of something big for Dez Bryant. He used one of the worst games of his career for the good.

“I had to get on top of my [stuff],” Bryant said Thursday. “That’s what I had to do. Obviously there were some things there that I needed to clean up, sharpen up on my end.”

Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo targeted Bryant 13 times in the Oct. 1, 2012, game against the Bears, and the receiver caught eight passes for 105 yards. But Bryant also had three drops, and his most egregious error came when he ran the wrong route in the second quarter.

Bryant ran a go instead of a hitch after being tricked by Bears cornerback Charles Tillman. Tillman returned the interception 25 yards for a touchdown, one of two pick-sixes by the Bears that day.

“It was basically decision-making,” Bryant said. “You can either feel bad, feel sorry for yourself or get your stuff together and be the person that you think that you can become.”

He became a better player after that -- more conscientious during meetings and on the practice field.

“Tony needed to believe in me, and I needed to do my job right so he could do that,” Bryant said. “From there, not that I never took my job seriously, but I …paid more attention during meetings, asked more questions.

“That’s one thing I wanted to do. I felt like I can’t get up and speak to a crowd or whatever, but I got out of that. I felt like I needed to open up my mouth, ask more questions, ‘What do I do when this guy comes? What do I do if this guy comes?’ I knew the simple stuff, but as the season went on a little bit more we were going to start seeing some funny looks and all of that, I needed to know what to do on everything and I got it done.”

Bryant had 50 receptions for 879 yards and 10 touchdowns in the second half of last season, scoring at least once in nine of the last 10 games. He has 68 catches for 896 yards and nine touchdowns this season.

-- Charean Williams

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