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.
"It didn't have anything to do with my teammates," Bryant said. "I just couldn't watch Green Bay kneel it down after a loss like that."
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 free-falling 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.
Broncos get reprieve
If Miami Dolphins defensive back Michael Thomas ever starts a fan club, he won't have any trouble getting a Denver chapter up and going.
Thomas' interception of Tom Brady's pass in the end zone on fourth down with 2 seconds left Sunday in his NFL debut preserved Miami's win that kept the New England Patriots from overtaking Denver in the race for the top seed in the AFC playoffs.
So, the Broncos (11-3), who lost at home to San Diego on Thursday night, find themselves with the ultimate reboot.
"Of course it feels better to control your own destiny," run-stuffer Terrance Knighton said Monday. "But you don't want any [more] scares like that. We want teams to come through Denver."
The Broncos visit the Houston Texans on Sunday.
Around the league
Niners • Fullback Bruce Miller is expected to miss the remainder of the regular season and the playoffs with a left shoulder blade injury suffered during Sunday's win at Tampa Bay. The 49ers are considering re-signing former Stanford fullback Owen Marecic, who was with the team from Sept. 17 to Oct. 2.
Dolphins • Miami and Richie Incognito have come to an agreement that will keep the offensive guard on the team's suspended list for the rest of the season. According to a league source, the Dolphins will continue to pay Incognito, who is at the center of the bullying scandal that led to Jonathan Martin's claims that the Dolphins fostered a hostile working environment.