ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — Dez Bryant and the Dallas Cowboys got to have some prime-time fun Monday night.
The star wide receiver caught a pair of touchdown passes, and in a thrilling reverse, threw for one, too.
Dallas (13-2), which had already wrapped up the NFC's top seed and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, beat playoff-chasing Detroit 42-21. The Cowboys won their seventh consecutive home game since losing the season opener 3 1/2 months ago, and when they play there again in three weeks, it will be in the playoffs.
After Bryant took a pitch from Dak Prescott on an apparent reverse run late in the third quarter, the receiver initially tucked the ball before slowing and putting it in his left hand. He then lobbed a 10-yard TD pass to Jason Witten, a play that didn't work the last time they ran it in practice.
"I was really nervous. When we executed the play, I was like, 'Yes. That's what I'm talking about.' I hit them with the stealth carry," said Bryant, who said his last pass in a game was also a TD in high school. "I threw the ball, I kind of looked and turned it around and I knew it was complete."
Witten crossed his arms in an "X'' and soon the veteran tight end was being mirrored in the end zone by the receiver who threw his first NFL pass and has made that gesture his standard celebration for scoring.
"That was one of the best feelings because I look up to Wit. I got to complete a pass to him — that's a Hall of Famer," Bryant said. "That is one of those moments that will always be with me."
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he did a double take when he saw the playing developing on the field.
"When he raised up I thought, 'This could happen.' He can throw that ball," Jones said.
The Cowboys finish the regular season next Sunday at Philadelphia, then get a break on wild-card playoff weekend. While that finale is meaningless for them in terms of playoff positioning, they can still win 14 games in the regular season for the first time in franchise history.
With his two touchdown catches, Bryant moved past one Hall of Famer and within reach of another. He passed Michael Irvin for second on the team's career list and within four of the franchise record of 71 held by Bob Hayes.
After reaching around with one hand to start a juggling 25-yard scoring catch while being interfered with late in the first half, Bryant made a leaping two-handed grab in front of a defender for a 19-yard TD in the fourth quarter to cap the scoring. And, of course, he flashed the "X'' both times.
Bryant became the first Cowboys player with a TD pass and TD catch in the same game since Danny White against the Cleveland Browns in 1985.
Even rookie Ezekiel Elliott got in on the fun. The NFL rushing leader punctuating his 55-yard touchdown run in the first quarter by combining the celebratory moves of Bryant and other teammates after his final leap into the end zone.
And one of the biggest hits of the night came when punter Chris Jones leveled returner Andre Roberts near the Cowboys sideline late in the game. Jones delivered the blow and stood tall, then got plenty of pats from pumped-up teammates.
Yep, all the Cowboys were having fun.