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Sunday, December 7, 2008
Rapid Reaction: Steelers 20, Cowboys 13


Posted by ESPN.com's Matt Mosley

PITTSBURGH -- The Cowboys survived a four-turnover first half and seemed poised to pull off the upset with a 13-3 lead midway through the fourth quarter. But the Steelers erupted for 17 points in the final 7:15 of the game to escape with a 20-13 win.

The Steelers (10-3) tied the score with 2 minutes left and then cornerback Deshea Townsend picked off Tony Romo and brought it back 25 yards for the game-winning touchdown. It appeared that tight end Jason Witten was taking the blame for cutting off his route on Romo's interception. It was a stunning turn of events in a game that the Cowboys appeared to have under control.

It also wasted a strong performance from rookie running back Tashard Choice, who accounted for 166 total yards. The Cowboys fell to 8-5 with the loss and they're tied with the Falcons (8-5) in the race for the final wild-card playoff spot. But the loss means the Cowboys only have a half-game lead on the Eagles (7-5-1). Washington could also pull into a tie with the Cowboys if they beat the Ravens later tonight.

Romo was 19-of-30 for 210 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. He turned the ball over three times in the first half alone, but he led the Cowboys on a game-tying drive at the end of the half to make it 3-3. From the first possession of the second half, it looked like the Cowboys would take over the game. And when the defense had a goal-line stand against the Steelers early in the fourth quarter, a Pittsburgh comeback looked improbable.

For now, the Cowboys can forget about the possibility of meeting this team again in the Super Bowl. They're in a fight for their playoff lives. Throw in a couple of late special-teams miscues and you have the makings of a remarkable fourth-quarter collapse. Now an angry Giants team that lost to the Eagles today is heading to town.

If the Cowboys don't make the playoffs, this will be the one that got away.