When Dallas Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant went out with a leg injury, the Cowboys lost a prolific wideout. They also had to figure out how to replace one of the top return men in the NFL.
On Sunday, the Cowboys' first drive started at their 46 yard line thanks to a huge 38-yard kickoff return by Bryan McCann. After a drive and a field goal, the defense turned around and forced a quick three and out. A punt followed, and though he bobbled a bit, McCann weaved north through traffic, making it all the way to the Redskins 35 before the cowardly kicker stuck his foot out and preempted the touchdown celebration.
Later in the quarter after another three and out, McCann fielded a punt at his own 40-yard line and scooted up the right sideline all the way to the Redskins 35-yard line. Three returns, 96 fluid chunks of hidden yardage by Bryan McCann. If you listen to Bill Parcells, that right there gave the Cowboys 7 extra points on Sunday; and it turns out they needed every one of them.
McCann has had a magical year thus far, with two scintillating returns that will live in Cowboy lore. Those led to a great deal of praise.He has also had his fair share of rookie miscues, with a stretch of three fumbles in 33 returns. Those led to some consternation (mine included) that his touches should be limited. What he did on Sunday, though, was provide every bit the momentum starters the offense needed.
McCann finished with 143 return yards, 89 on kickoffs and another 54 on punts; respective averages of 22.3 and 27.1. The stat sheet doesn't show any points directly attributed to McCann, but those in the know, know it should.