goes to: QB Ben Roethlisberger
Roethlisberger's ability to bring his team back with big plays and signature moments were wasted with his interception on the second play of overtime. But he brought the team back from a 10-3 deficit to take a 24-17 lead with a 30-yard touchdown to Heath Miller that was vintage Roethlisberger. And his 60-yard pass to Mike Wallace in which he heaved the ball 64 yards in the air set up the tying touchdown. "If it wasn't for Ben, we wouldn't have even been in the game," Wallace said. "He makes so many plays for this team."
A quick look at the top performances from Sunday's game:
1. GAME-CHANGER: After a 78-yard scoring drive gave them a 24-17 lead, the Steelers held the Cowboys to four plays and forced a punt. But, on his 22-yard return, Antonio Brown had the ball stripped by Victor Butler and the Cowboys recovered at the Steelers 44. They converted the turnover into a touchdown seven plays later and the Steelers lost all their momentum. "We had a lead ... it was going to be good field position," coach Mike Tomlin said. "We put the ball on the ground.
2. BIG PICK: After completing 10 of 13 passes for 169 yards in the second half, Roethlisberger's first pass in overtime was intercepted by Brandon Carr and returned 36 yards to the Steelers 1, setting up the winning field goal. "I just didn't put enough on it," Roethlisberger said.
3. NO MOJO: The Steelers forced a quick punt to start the second half with a big stop on third-and-1. But, after Brown's 29-yard punt return gave them the ball at midfield, the offense sputtered on three plays. That's when Dallas tied it on Dez Bryant's 24-yard catch.
4. BIG SACK: James Harrison snuffed a third-and-1 chance at midfield when he wasn't fooled on a play-action and sacked Tony Romo for a 5-yard loss. The Steelers then scored on the second drive in a row to take a 24-17 lead and, seemingly, control of the game.
5. MORE BIG SACKS: Roethlisberger was sacked four times -- three coming on the final two possessions of regulation. But the killers were back-to-back sacks by Sean Lissemone and Anthony Spencer after the Steelers reached their 46 with 1:34 remaining.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS
20 That's the number of consecutive games the Steelers had gone without allowing a 300-yard passer, the longest active streak in the league. But Tony Romo ended that streak with 341 yards passing, the most since Baltimore's Joe Flacco had 300 Nov. 6, 2011.
"We just gave up too many points, too many big plays. We just gave up too much. We needed to come out and do a better job of getting pressure on the quarterback and playing tighter coverage. Now we got to win out. But it's no tougher position than we felt coming in here. I felt we had to win out from here."
-- James Harrison
WHAT WAS HE THINKING?
Antonio Brown's fumble after a 22-yard return changed the momentum of the game and led to the tying touchdown by the Cowboys. But two other plays by Brown after that were just as puzzling. With the Cowboys punting from their 20-yard line, he failed to catch a short punt that then rolled an extra 15 yards to the Steelers 20. And he ran out of bounds after a third-down catch with 1:02 remaining, giving the Cowboys more time on their final possession of regulation. "I have to be better prepared out here," Brown said. "I should have stayed inbounds. I got to know the situation better."
X's AND O's
Miller's 30-yard touchdown catch that tied the score at 10 with 34 seconds remaining in the second quarter was the ninth time this season the Steelers have scored on their final possession of the first half. But the play will go down as a special one because Roethlisberger danced through pressure by pump-faking three times and eventually finding Miller on the right sideline at the 15. Miller beat outside linebacker Anthony Spencer and strong safety Danny McCray to the end zone. "It was a special play, one of his signature plays," Miller said. "If you have an opening, [number] 7 will find you."
vs. CINCINNATI BENGALS, 1 P.M. SUNDAY: The Steelers (7-7) play the Cincinnati Bengals (8-6) at 1 p.m. Sunday at Heinz Field. The Bengals have won five of their past six, but have lost 10 of the past 12 against the Steelers, including 24-17 Oct. 21.
First Published December 17, 2012 5:00 AM