The field conditions weren’t what Steelers fans were hoping for at the beginning of the game, but it was cold and it was windy. It would be a game that left fans of both teams crowing about their defense and still questioning their offenses. In the winter, it becomes about the defense. When the game finished, there would be a total of 8 sacks and 7 turnovers. The offenses would look rather mediocre, but then, good defenses tend to do that to offenses.
After week 14, the Steelers defense would still have not given up 300 yards in a game and would make a huge defensive play that would bring about the win over the Dallas Cowboys, which wasn’t an easy task, given how the Dallas defense stepped up and showed the “improved” oline of the Steelers, hadn’t actually improved as much as we hoped, with 5 sacks on Ben Roethlisberger. What can be said about this Steelers defense that we haven’t already lauded on before? Oh yeah, Steelers cornerback, Ike Taylor finally caught one. Week in and week out, the Steeler defense has been playing as if they were trying to make a case as to why defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau should be in the NFL Hall of Fame.
However, what was more impressive was, well the offense. No, not fantasy football impressive, not statistically impressive. With the Dallas defense, for the most part, shutting down the Steelers offense for the majority of the game, the questions that surfaced about the Steelers offense not being able to compete against teams with good defenses again. Although the Steelers took the lead only to be tied going into the half, the Cowboys offense managed to go up ten points. It was a struggle, especially when a 71 yard drive to the 4th and 1 was stopped, denying the Steelers a touchdown in the 3d quarter. And for a moment, we were wondering, given the inability to get anything going, would the Steelers be able to come back from this deficit.
Then a spark, a 47 yd pass to Santonio Holmes on a 3d and 16 would start a drive that would lead to a field goal by Jeff Reed. A three and out by the Dallas offense and the Steelers offense would drive for 67 yards and come away with a Roethlisberger pass to Heath Miller. Jeff Reed’s extra point tied the game. So it wasn’t pretty and may not be impressive, but the Steelers offense finally found the answers to get past the defense that was stifling them. Oh yeah, and Ben had no interceptions.
In the end though, it would be the Steelers defense that would win the game with a Deshea Townsend interception on Tony Romo for a defensive touchdown. Romo would not be able to overcome the Steelers defense to make a drive down the field.
Of course it’s not everything we would have hoped for. A rookie running back did get past the Steelers defense for 88 yds, the most a single running back has run against the Steelers all season. The oline did give up five sacks and failed to create the holes for the running backs, which only ran for a total 53 yds combined.
A win is a win though, no matter how pretty or ugly, and with this win, the Steelers maintain their lead in the AFC North and Roethlisberger would take the lead in the quarterback with the most wins in his first five years in the NFL. Oh, and yeah, it came down to a classic Steelers/Cowboy games where the big play, where one score decided the outcome.