Dez Bryant left the Cowboys bench with 1:21 left in a stunning 37-36 loss to Mighty Matt Flynn and the Packers on Sunday. He said it was to hide his tears.

Really, he did.

It reminded us, of course, of the time his previous incarnation, Randy Moss, did the same against Washington in the final game of the 2004 regular season. Here is the beginning and end of the story from that day, as penned by former Vikings Star Tribune beat writer Kevin Seifert, now with ESPN:

The irony was rich and deserved, the symbolism obvious. With the game clock reading 0:02 Sunday afternoon, Randy Moss decided he'd had enough. His head down and his eyes blank, Moss stalked off the
field toward the Vikings' locker room at FedExField. Unfortunately for him but thankfully for those charged with chronicling the day's events, Moss reached the door just as the team bus driver began positioning his vehicle for the Vikings' postgame departure.

"BEEP! BEEP! BEEP!" rang the familiar screech of a service vehicle backing into its parking spot. Moss didn't know it at the time, but yes, his team soon would back into the playoffs.

Even after a 21-18 loss to Washington completed their freefall to an 8-8 record, the Vikings clinched a postseason berth during a dramatic and surreal span of 30 minutes spent waiting on the results of other games. The Vikings' first playoff game in four seasons will take place Sunday afternoon at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, news most Vikings regarded with measured enthusiasm at best.


There is little reason to believe the Vikings will play any differently against the Packers, who defeated them twice this season by identical 34-31 scores. Perhaps Moss knew as much as he walked off the field Sunday, leaving his teammates to pursue a last-gasp onside kick without him.

Moss didn't speak to the media after the game. His teammates expressed an equal amount of insight regarding the team's plight.

"If I knew for sure," Birk said, "I wouldn't keep it a secret. Maybe we're a little tentative. I don't know."

Unless Birk and the Vikings find an answer now, that bus driver might as well keep the engine running. It will soon be time to leave this season behind

The Vikings, of course, won that game at Lambeau 31-17 and Moss had his infamous moon. Soon after, he was traded. We'll see what the future holds for Dez.

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