PITTSBURGH – The stats might not be pretty, but they reflect a winning effort.
The Dallas secondary got hit with its toughest test of the season on Sunday, but they'll be quick to remind you what the scoreboard says.
Ben Roethlisberger threw for 408 yards and three touchdowns on the Cowboys. But, with some help from the offense in the final minute, it was the Dallas defense that hung on in the final seconds for a 35-30 win.
"They gave us some different looks, they made some plays on us," said Brandon Carr. "But at the same time, that's the beauty of playing football. You win ugly, you win tight, come from behind – whatever the case is. But you just get a victory."
It was likely going to be that way, considering the situation. The Cowboys weren't just facing Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown, but they were doing so without Morris Claiborne or Barry Church.
They also lost Orlando Scandrick to a head injury in the second half, opening the door for Leon McFadden to get meaningful snaps.
Consequently, Pittsburgh became the first team to score more than 23 points on this unit. Brown also broke the defense's streak of not allowing a 100-yard receiver all season. Though, it's worth pointing out that 55 of Brown's 154 yards came in the final 10 seconds, when the Cowboys were playing deep defense, hoping to prevent a Hail Mary play.
"You look at the film and all their passes are going downfield. They're not afraid to push the ball downfield," Carr said. "They got us a few times down the field, but for the majority of the time we were in position to make plays and defend the ball on deep throws."
It might sound silly, but the game showed that. As often as the Steelers might have made plays downfield, the Cowboys rallied to tackle. They forced two red zone field goals, and they didn't allow Pittsburgh to convert any of their four two-point conversion attempts.
It might not have been the prettiest performance. But coupled with the win, it's one the Cowboys will gladly take.