If you haven’t done so already, please contribute to our Steelers vs Cowboys Recap Haiku Contest. And if you didn’t read our pre-game articles, please see our Steelers-Cowboys Preview and our Key Match-ups. Lastly, we also wrote an article about Cowboys’ rookie running back Tashard Choice. Now, onto this week’s recap.
It wasn’t pretty. In fact, it was downright ugly. But the only thing that really matters is the final score, and the final score of this game was steelers 20, Cowboys 13.
The most difficult opponent for either team was probably the weather. The temperatures were below freezing, and the wind was gusty. In fact, the conditions were so bad that they made punter Mitch Berger look like Paul Ernster. Gasp!
Neither offense looked particularly good. For the Cowboys, Tony Romo had a miserable outing. He was 19/36 passing, was intercepted 3 times, sacked 3 times, and ended up with a passer rating of 44.9 for the game. I guess entering the game with the highest passer rating in the league didn’t help him very much. But Philip Rivers could have told him that.
The one offensive player who did have a good showing was Cowboys’ rookie Tashard Choice. Choice, making his first NFL start, racked up 156 yards of total offense against the Steelers’ defense. He ended up as the games leading rusher with 88 yards. Not a bad day for his first NFL start.
The Steelers’ rushers had no such luck. Willie Parker was totally ineffective. By the end of the first quarter, he had me screaming “get him out of the game!!” at my TV. Parker ended up rushing 12 times for 25 yards. That’s an average of 2.1 yards per carry. That’s about the same average that Tony Romo’s girlfriend Jessica Simpson would have gotten had she played in the game.
The Steelers’ coaching staff finally realized that Parker was stinking up the joint and went with Mewelde Moore. Moore rushed 5 times for 22 yards. Not many total yards, but a much more respectable 4.4 yard per carry average.
Steelers’ quarterback Ben Roethlisberger did his famous imitation of a tackling dummy again this week. He was sacked 5 times during the game. For those of you who are counting, that’s 24 sacks against NFC East teams this year (22 on Big Ben and 2 on Byron Leftwich). Damn, the NFC East is like Kryptonite to Big Ben!
Fortunately, Big Ben was able to rally the troops when he really needed to. With 2:10 left in the 4th quarter, Roethlisberger found Heath Miller for a six yard touchdown pass. Suddenly the game was tied 13-13 with about 2:00 left, and it looked like the game was going to go into overtime.
Fortunately, when the Steelers need them, the defense always seems to step up and deliver a victory. Today was no different. On the Cowboys’ final possession, Tony Romo dropped back to pass the ball to tight end Jason Witten. However, there seemed to be a miscommunication between the two, because Witten zigged when Romo wanted him to zag. The ball sailed past Witten and right into the waiting arms of Steelers CB Deshea Townsend. Townsend sprinted towards the endzone and made a final dive to avoid being tackled. Touchdown Steelers!!!!! The defense had done it again.
Once again, the defense held their opponent to under 300 yards of total offense. Once again James Harrison sacked the quarterback. Once again he forced a fumble while making the sack (I hope nobody tells Harrison that he doesn’t have to force a fumble everytime he sacks the quarterback). Once again, Troy Polamalu added to his interception total. The Steelers defense did what it always does. It saved the offense after the offense delivered another mediocre performance.
I know that the Steelers are winning, and that fans should be happy with any win. However, I really wish that the offense would start carrying their share of the load. The Baltimore Ravens have proven that a team can win a Super Bowl strictly on the strength of their defense. Nevertheless, that’s a tough way to do it, and I sure wish the offense would chip in.
The Steelers are now 10-3, and a pretty much guaranteed a playoff spot. Now they have to fight to maintain their current position and the important first round bye. The first step of that journey begins next week in Baltimore.
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