Steelers Drop Fourth in Last Five Games
ARLINGTON, Texas – Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh Steelers still have games to play, and a chance at the playoffs.
Still, this loss hurts for Roethlisberger, whose interception in overtime set up Dallas for a field goal to win 27-24 Sunday.
The Steelers (7-7) have lost four of five games, including both since the quarterback’s return from a shoulder injury.
“There won’t be any quit from us, especially from me,” said Roethlisberger, insisting the loss was his fault even after throwing for 339 yards with two touchdowns. “This one is going to sting real bad, it will hopefully make me and make us better.”
The only other time the Steelers played in Cowboys Stadium was their loss to Green Bay in the Super Bowl two seasons ago.
In Pittsburgh’s first game there against the hometown Cowboys (8-6), where thousands of Steelers fans waved their Terrible Towels and cheered wildly, Pittsburgh overcame an early 10-0 deficit and led early in the fourth quarter after Antonio Brown’s 7-yard TD catch.
Brown was later stripped and fumbled on what would have been a 22-yard punt return to near midfield. Dallas drove for a tying touchdown.
Even after Brown didn’t field a poor punt that ended up bouncing and rolling to the 20 inside the final 2 minutes of regulation, the Steelers were near midfield again.
DeMarcus Ware was called for roughing the passer because of swipe to the back of the head before Roethlisberger was sacked on consecutive plays.
“Really, it’s simple, man. Just not enough of the critical plays in the waning moments to seize opportunities,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “We had a lead, and had a punt return. It was going to be good field position. … We had the ball near midfield at the end of regulation and timeouts.”
On the second play of overtime, Roethlisberger’s pass intended for Mike Wallace was picked off by Brandon Carr, whose 36-yard return to the 1 set up Dan Bailey’s game-ending 21-yard field goal.
Though the Steelers slipped to third place in the AFC North, they are only a game behind Cincinnati for the AFC’s second wild card. Pittsburgh has already won a game against its division rival, which visits Heinz Field next week.
The Steelers play their last two games at home, against the Bengals and then Cleveland.
“Obviously we’re frustrated,” Wallace said. “But we’re still in the same situation we started in before we came. We know if we win these last two games, we’re still in the tournament.”
Tony Romo and the Cowboys (8-6) moved into a three-way tie for the NFC East lead with the New York Giants and Washington Redskins. Dallas has won three straight and five of six.
Roethlisberger completed 24 of 40 passes and was sacked four times, three of those coming in the final 3:35 of regulation. His only interception came at the worst time.
“He got to the top of his drop and was delivering the ball. I made a run for it and when he threw it behind (Wallace), I laid out for it and caught it,” Carr said. “Those are the plays you dream about in the backyard, making the game-winning interception or touchdown. “
Dallas got even at 24-all with 7 minutes left on a 3-yard TD run by DeMarco Murray. That came on the drive set up when Victor Butler reached out and stripped the ball from Brown on the punt return.
Roethlisberger pulled the Steelers even at 10 on an impressive play. He stepped away from pressure and used a couple of pump fakes to keep pass rushers away before moving forward and to the side to find Miller wide open along the sideline on a 30-yard score.
After stopping to make the catch, Miller (seven catches for 92 yards) ran in untouched to chants of “Heath” from the black-and-gold clad fans.
“They went to a prevent defense, so the play that was called wasn’t a good play at all,” Roethlisberger said. “Went to throw over the middle, at the last minute saw Heath on the sideline. Just tried to get it to him and let him do the rest.”
Notes: Steelers CB DeMarcus Van Dyke separated his right shoulder trying to tackle on a punt return less than 2 minutes in the game. … WR Emmanuel Sanders sustained a rib injury and CB Keenan Lewis (groin) also left injured. … Romo was 30-of-42 passing for 341 yards with two TDs. … The Steelers their previous three overtime games, including a 16-13 win at home over Kansas City on Nov. 12. … Dallas has won six of its past seven OT games, and are 2-0 at Cowboys Stadium.