Game Recap: In Instant Classic, Rookies Lead Cowboys To Win Over Steelers

You've got to be kidding me. Is there no stopping the Dallas Cowboys?

In one for the history books, two classic teams produced a back-and-forth classic game with the Cowboys extending their winning streak to eight straight, tying the 1977 Super Bowl champions for the longest in team history.

This year's version still has a long way to go before it can raise the Lombardi Trophy, but a 35-30 come-from-behind victory over the Steelers is yet another impressive step down that road. While Pittsburgh came into the matchup with a 3-1 record at home, a record crowd of 67,737 were on hand to see Dallas come away with the win.

The Cowboys again saw outstanding play from their two rookies, Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. The young quarterback completed 68.7 percent of his passes on his way to a career-high 319 yards and two touchdowns. He led his team to 12 fourth-quarter points, which included the game-winning drive with under a minute to play.

Likewise, Elliott also had a career day, finishing with 209 yards from scrimmage. He rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns and also hauled in two catches for 95 yards and a score.

Their effort was helped by Dez Bryant, who was playing the game after learning of the passing of his father just the day before. Still, he finished with a team-best 116 receiving yards and a touchdown.

While the offense was clicking, the Dallas defense struggled to contain Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers. The 30 points were the most surrendered on the season and the unit allowed 448 total yards of offense.

Fortunately, the Cowboys offense hung with them, putting up 442 yards themselves.  Things didn't exactly get off to a good start for the team, though, as on its third play of the game, Prescott was hit from behind and stripped of the ball, the Steelers recovering the prize on the Dallas 38-yard line. Given the short field, Pittsburgh capitalized, using eight plays to reach the end zone with Bell darting in from the 2-yard line to get the home team on the board.

But the Steelers decided to go for the 2-point conversion and Roethlisberger's attempt to tight end Ladarius Green fell incomplete to limit the damaged to six points.

Which is exactly what happened on Pittsburgh's next possession as well. After Dan Bailey kicked a 37-yard field goal to give Dallas 3 points, the Steelers marched right back down on another eight-play drive, this time for 75 yards, before Roethlisberger found wideout Eli Rodgers in the end zone.

Again, however, Pittsburgh was only able to get six out of the series, as another two-point conversion attempt fell incomplete.

And that opened the door for Dallas to take a temporary lead. Facing a second-and-17 at their own 17-yard line, the Cowboys set up the screen perfectly. Prescott dumped a short pass to Elliott on the right side and with a wall of blockers in front of him, the running back picked up key blocks from guard Ronald Leary and receiver Terrance Williams and broke free for an 83-yard touchdown.

[embeddedad0]It was the longest score for the Cowboys since Bryant had an 85-yard catch and run on Nov. 22, 2012 against Washington, and the longest touchdown reception for a Dallas running back since Herschel Walker had an 84-yarder against Philadelphia on Dec. 14, 1986.

That narrowed the score to 12-10 and when Bailey then kicked a 53-yard field on the Cowboys' next possession, the longest in an NFL game in the history of Pittsburgh's Heinz Field, Dallas had the lead.

Unfortunately, Pittsburgh grabbed the lead right back before the half on a 39-yard field goal and then on the opening drive of the third quarter added another 25-yard boot to move ahead, 18-13.

But the longer the game went on, the more the Dallas offense seemed to find its rhythm. On the Cowboys first series of the second half, the unit chewed up 7:35 of game time over 14 plays before Bailey was then good from 46 yards out.

That again narrowed the score, and set the Cowboys up to then take the lead on their next drive. This time, though, they needed only three plays and 1:49 of game clock.

Facing a third-and-11 at the 50-yard line, Prescott escaped the blitz and then threw deep down the left sideline to Bryant, who broke away from his defender to haul in the pass and race untouched into the end zone. With the score, the Cowboys recaptured the advantage, 23-18.

The back-and-forth was hardly done, though. With Dallas forced to punt, Antonio Brown returned it 22 yards to set Pittsburgh up at the Dallas 46-yard line. Shortly thereafter, Bell was running it in from the 1-yard line for the touchdown.

Now chasing points, the Steelers went for the 2-point conversion once more, and for the third time in the game, they were unsuccessful.

Still, Pittsburgh had the lead, 24-23, with 7:50 left in the game. And that's when the Cowboys went to work, marching 75 yards in 10 plays and ticking off another 5:56 of clock. They capped off the drive with Elliott bolting off right tackle for the final 14 yards.

This time it was Dallas's turn to try for two on the conversion, and similarly, the Cowboys didn't do any better. Prescott's attempt to Bryant on the left side of the end zone fell incomplete, the team now clinging to a 29-24 advantage with 1:55 remaining in the game.

Which was plenty of time for Roethlisberger, especially with all three of his timeouts. The Cowboys defense couldn't get the stop it so desperately needed, as the Pittsburgh quarterback went 5-for-5 on the ensuing drive. His final pass came after he faked a spike and then threw a 15-yard pass to Brown on the right side of the end zone for the score.

That left just 42 seconds left on the clock with Dallas still having all three of its timeouts. Was it enough?

Yes, amazingly, it was. Helped by a 15-yard facemask penalty that pushed the ball to the Pittsburgh 32, the Cowboys were out of timeouts with 15 seconds left and were basically running one last play to set up Bailey with another field goal.

But Elliott took the handoff, found a seam off left tackle and sped untouched into the end zone for the unlikely score. The two-point conversion again failed, but it didn't matter, the Cowboys had their victory, 35-30.

With the win, Dallas improved to 8-1 and maintained their lead in the NFC East. They'll now return home for two games, facing the Baltimore Ravens in a noon affair on Sunday before hosting the rival Washington Redskins in their annual Thanksgiving game.

Look through some of our favorite photos from the Dallas Cowboys game agianst the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. 

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.
Advertising