Sunday, December 16, 2012
Rapid Reaction: Cowboys 27, Steelers 24
By Calvin Watkins
ARLINGTON, Texas -- The Cowboys extended their season-saving winning streak to three games Sunday with a dramatic 27-24 overtime victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The Cowboys' playoff hopes received a big boost when Brandon Carr intercepted Ben Roethlisberger and returned it 36 yards to set up Dan Bailey's game-winning 21-yard kick.
When it was over, Miles Austin was joyfully pushing coach Jason Garrett, and Jason Hatcher was hugging him. Emotions are high for the Cowboys with two games remaining in the regular season.
What it means: The Cowboys are in a three-way tie for first place in the NFC East. However, the Cowboys own the tiebreaker over the New York Giants because they have a better division record. Washington is in first place because it owns the tiebreaker over the Cowboys thanks to the Redskins' Thanksgiving Day victory.
Bryant's broken finger: Dez Bryant played with a broken left index finger that was taped up, with the tip exposed. The Steelers played him tough with double coverage on some passing downs, even dropping a linebacker underneath his routes. Bryant finished with four catches for 59 yards.
The decision: Dwayne Harris caught a 4-yard pass on third down that fell short of the first at the 2:00 mark. After a measurement, Garrett elected to punt from his own 21. It would have been a gutsy call late in the game, but it seemed Garrett was trusting his defense to get him the ball and he didn't want to put it at risk defending the Steelers deep in their own territory. It ended up not costing the Cowboys anything because the Steelers punted. Garrett had another decision late in regulation, setting up for a 61-yard field goal for Bailey. He elected to punt after taking a timeout, leading to overtime.
Cowboys honor victims, teammate: The Cowboys held a moment of silence for deceased linebacker Jerry Brown and for the victims of Friday's school shooting in Newtown, Conn. The Cowboys had Brown's jersey on their bench and a No. 53 decal on the back of their helmet. Nose tackle Josh Brent, who was charged with intoxication manslaughter, attended the game.
What's next? If you thought it was loud with Steelers fans at Cowboys Stadium, wait until you hear the New Orleans Saints fans who visit next week. The Saints beat Tampa Bay on Sunday, 41-0.