The Cowboys and Steelers put a flurry of points on the board in the final two minutes of Sunday’s game, but the Cowboys got more of them and they’ll leave Pittsburgh with their eighth straight win as a result.
Ezekiel Elliott sprinted 32 yards for his third touchdown of the game with nine seconds left to play and the Cowboys came back for a 35-30 win that leaves them all alone at the top of the NFC. Elliott also scored on the first play after the two minute warning and on an 83-yard catch while rolling up 209 total yards of offense in another banner day for the fourth overall pick of this year’s draft.
It seemed like the first touchdown might have come a little too soon as the Cowboys could have worked some clock and forced the Steelers to use timeouts if things played out otherwise (which may have impacted the Steelers’ defensive choices), which looked like a big miss when Ben Roethlisberger dusted off the fake spike play and hit Antonio Brown for a touchdown with 42 seconds to play. Dak Prescott hit Cole Beasley and Jason Witten for first downs, though, and a facemask penalty on a second Witten pass set the Cowboys up well within Dan Bailey’s field goal range.
Roethlisberger and the Steelers looked sharp early while scoring two touchdowns in the first quarter, but they slowed in the third quarter and the Cowboys surged into the lead when Prescott hit Dez Bryant for a 50-yard touchdown. It was a beautiful throw, eliciting a response from Tony Romo on the sideline that could be best described as realization that you’re not going back in the lineup because the rookie’s having a really good season.
Prescott was 22-of-32 for 319 yards and Roethlisberger was 37-of-46 for 408 yards and three touchdowns. He wasn’t able to add any points on four attempted two-point conversions over the course of the game and Mike Tomlin’s decision to go for two on those first quarter touchdowns will likely be a subject for discussion because of the impact it had on strategies later in the game.
All of the above came together to make for one of the most entertaining NFL games of the season and the league will surely be hoping for more of the same as a salve for the ratings drop that has generated so much attention so far this season. That will be little salve for the 4-5 Steelers, although seeing the Browns on the schedule for next week might help a bit.
No such consolations are necessary in Dallas as their two rookies continue to shine as brightly as anyone in the league.