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Scout's Eye: Quality Chances for Bryant, Leary's Block, Among Thoughts

• In the postgame press conference, Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin was asked if he called for defensive coordinator Keith Butler to let the Cowboys score with 1:55 left in the game. Tomlin said "No, they scored." My initial thought was that was the case because of the situation that the Steelers were in with only two timeouts remaining. I felt like Tomlin wanted to give his team one last shot, and with how quickly Dallas scored, it appeared that it was the correct plan with the way that Ben Roethlisberger was able to drive his team down the field for the apparent go-ahead touchdown.

• We saw a great example of how Dez Bryant doesn't have to get 14 targets in a game, but just make sure that the ones he does get are quality chances, which was the case in this game. I thought the game plan did a much better job of going to him at the right time, especially given the fact that he was working against a rookie that could not handle him in one-on-one coverage. Bryant was just too much for Artie Burns, but Dak Prescott didn't force the ball in his direction and they were more productive because of it.

• Huge block by Ronald Leary on Ezekiel Elliott's 83-yard touchdown reception. There was a time when Leary physically would not have been in good enough condition to be able to peel back in space to pull that off. By working the way he did in the offseason, he made himself a much more mobile player, and on that play his hard work paid off.

• It was great to see DeMarcus Lawrence get his first sack of the season, but I thought his tackle of Le'Veon Bell for a 3-yard loss on third-and-1 that forced the Steelers to punt was his biggest play. The Cowboys took over the ball on their own 40-yard line and were able to cash that into a Dan Bailey 53-yard field goal, which gave them their first lead of the game.

• What a play by Byron Jones on Antonio Brown with the Steelers knocking on the door on the Dallas 7-yard line. Everyone in the stadium knew that in that situation Roethlisberger was going to try and get Brown one-on-one and let him go to work. Brown was never able to get away from Jones, who had him tied up off the line and never allowed him to get into the end zone. Despite the coverage, Roethlisberger tried to force the ball to him but there was no window for him to make the throw. Pittsburgh had to settle for a 25-yard field goal and the result was a 4-point play for the defense.

• Heck of a blitz pickup by Lance Dunbar to allow Dak Prescott to step up and find Dez Bryant on that 50-yard touchdown. Dunbar doesn't lack for courage, but he's three bricks shy of being a back that you want having to deal with 250-pound linebackers screaming through the middle of the line. Sometimes it's more important what a running back does without the ball than with it, and that was the case for Dunbar.

• If I am offensive coordinator Scott Linehan, I am stealing that play that Todd Haley ran with Le'Veon Bell in which David DeCastro blocked down the field to free him. If the officials are not going to call that, then I am taking Zack Martin and having him block in space every time with Ezekiel Elliott. How is that not blocking down field? I will have to study the tape on Monday, but it appeared that Bell was running a "Texas" route inside and was already past the line when DeCastro threw the block.

• When Anthony Brown gets in trouble in coverage, it is usually because of his eyes. It happened to him last week and again this week on Antonio Brown with the Steelers facing a third-and-9. Anthony Brown has got to learn not to take his eyes off the receiver and peek at the quarterback. I thought he had position on the Pittsburgh wideout, but then when he looked back to Roethlisberger, that was all Antonio Brown needed to gain separation. The play allowed the Steelers to extend the drive, which later resulted in a 39-yard field goal and the lead.               

• Get ready for every remaining opposing quarterback to use the hard count on this Dallas defense. Ben Roethlisberger did a great job of varying his snap count all night. There were snaps when he would snap it on first sound, then others when he was able to drag it out drawing the linemen offside. This is something that advanced scouts will be able to pick up on and pass along to their offensive coaches in the coming weeks. It's a cheap way to get 5 yards and free shots down the field.

• Great job by Joe Baker and Greg Jackson getting J.J. Wilcox ready to play each week. Wilcox is no longer the liability that he once was. He has done a much better job of understanding angles and arriving at the ball in better position to finish plays. He has always been a physical player, but we are also seeing him do a much better job in coverage. This was another game where he was credited with a pass defensed and that is an outstanding sign going forward.

• I have to give Jason Garrett some credit for his self-control. On the touchdown drive where Elliott scored from 14 yards out, I would have challenged the call on the pass to Jason Witten that came up a yard short. It sure looked like to me that when Witten caught the ball he was able to stretch it forward to the line to gain for the first. By not challenging that play, Garrett was able to conserve all three of his timeouts, which he was able to use on the final drive to win the game. It would have been real easy to throw that flag but he didn't, and that was the right approach.       

• I have been in this league a long time, but I don't believe I have ever seen a game where one team was 0-for-4 on extra points.

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