The Steelers didn’t blow out the Cowboys as expected. In fact, they needed a comeback to remain undefeated.
But Pittsburgh got it done, moving to 8-0 for the first time in franchise history. The Steelers did it in front of an NFL season-high 31,700 fans.
Ben Roethlisberger, who missed a few plays late in the first half to seek medical attention for his left knee, threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to Eric Ebron with 2:14 remaining. It was the Steelers’ first lead of the day, and it held up . . . barely.
The Steelers trailed 13-0, 13-9 at halftime and 19-9 in the fourth quarter. Pittsburgh closed the game with 15 unanswered points, getting a 31-yard touchdown pass from Roethlisberger to JuJu Smith-Schuster, a 43-yard Chris Boswell field goal and Ebron’s score.
Roethlisberger went 11-of-16 for 144 yards and two touchdowns in the fourth quarter.
Boswell missed an extra point, had one blocked by Tyrone Crawford and the Steelers failed on a 2-point conversion.
The Steelers’ special teams nearly cost them. Or maybe it was the Cowboys’ special teams nearly won them the upset of the season.
The Cowboys had Rico Dowdle return a Boswell kickoff from the 50-yard line — after a Randy Gregory 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalty following the Steelers’ touchdown — 64 yards to the Pittsburgh 36. They used a trick play on a punt return for a 73-yard play.
The Cowboys were competitive despite starting their fourth quarterback of the season. Garrett Gilbert, who signed less than a month ago, was making his first career start against a defense ranked fifth in yards allowed.
The Cowboys did get the ball back with 38 seconds left and moved from their own 19 to Pittsburgh 23 with four seconds remaining. Gilbert’s pass into the end zone was incomplete, knocked away by Minkah Fitzpatrick, who also had a second half interception in the end zone to prevent Cowboys’ points.
Gilbert went 21-of-38 for 243 yards with a touchdown and an interception.
Roethlisberger, who returned from his knee injury to play all of the second half, was 29-of-42 for 306 yards and three touchdowns. Smith-Schuster caught six passes for 93 yards and a score.
The Cowboys had 364 yards, outgaining the Steelers by 9 yards. But two turnovers and seven penalties, several of them at crucial times and at least a couple controversial, didn’t help the Cowboys’ cause.
Cowboys rookie cornerback Trevon Diggs departed in the second half with a left foot injury.