In a season that’s seen more ups and downs than a hotel elevator. A light switch has finally flipped on for WR Dez Bryant, who’s currently riding a four-game hot streak, and is second only to WR Calvin Johnson in fantasy football points at the receiver position in the last five weeks.
This Sunday, Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys will square off against the Cincinnati Bengals and their eighth-ranked defense. The Bengals have been surprisingly good against opposing receivers, allowing just 13 total touchdowns through 12 games this season. However, the Bengals secondary has yet to face an opponent like Bryant, one that possesses a deadly combination of size and speed which has left opposing defenses puzzled in trying to cover him in recent weeks. Just ask Eagles CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who was dragged by Bryant for six yards to pay dirt.
QB Tony Romo has a passer rating of 118.1 on throws to Bryant, not to mention that the Cowboys are 3-1 through the last four weeks when Bryant’s been able to amass at least 87 and a score per game.
Since being drafted by the Cowboys in 2010, Bryant has sported Hall-of-Famer Michael Irvin’s No. 88. Up until now, that’s been the only similarity between the two, as Bryant’s immaturity and character concerns have overshadowed his ability to produce on the field. However, now that he’s on pace to best his career totals with 71 receptions, 978 yards and eight touchdowns, he’s rightfully drawn comparisons to more than Irvin’s jersey number.
Through his first 39 career games, Bryant has posted a 179/2,467/23 stat line, slightly edging Irvin’s 151/2,606/18 over that same span.
Current Bengals defensive coordinator and former longtime Cowboys assistant Mike Zimmer spoke with ESPN Dallas on Wednesday praising Bryant’s ability to “go get the football, his acceleration (and) his run after the catch,” and how Bryant reminds him of Irvin “in a lot of ways.” Zimmer faces a tough task in game planning against Bryant this week.