Final

Steelers 24

(5-1, 2-1 away)

Cowboys 20

(2-3, 1-2 home)

4:15 PM ET, October 17, 2004

 

1 2 3 4 T
PIT 7 3 0 1424
DAL 7 3 10 020

Roethlisberger first rookie QB 4-0 since '79

IRVING, Texas (AP) -- The Dallas Cowboys spent a week comparing Steelers rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a young Dan Marino.

Eric Allen's Analysis
Eric Allen Aside from the QB play, how are the Steelers getting it done?

The Steelers are getting it done with their running game. They have two excellent running backs behind a solid offensive line. RB Duce Staley is arguably the best free agent acquisition from the past offseason, while Jerome Bettis is very good in short-yardage and third down situations. Also, they have tough receivers who aren't afraid to take the big hit and hold onto the ball, while also giving the big hit blocking downfield.

Eric Allen played cornerback for 14 NFL seasons with the Eagles, Saints and Raiders. He's a regular contributor to Insider.

How about some Terry Bradshaw to go with it?

Roethlisberger completed 21 of 25 passes and two touchdowns, completing nine straight throws on the Steelers' last two scoring drives Sunday and 11 in one stretch, leading Pittsburgh to a 24-20 comeback win over the Cowboys.

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells had warned his team about how good Roethlisberger could be. It was Parcells who compared him to Marino.

"He can flat-out play," said Steelers receiver Plaxico Burress. "I think Parcells was right."

Roethlisberger is the first rookie quarterback to go 4-0 since Phil Simms on the 1979 New York Giants. He also became the first Pittsburgh quarterback to win in Dallas since Bradshaw in 1982.

"He's got great poise," Parcells said. "I think he's going to be outstanding. I haven't changed my mind about that."

And while a rookie led the way, it was a timely Dallas fumble and a short TD from a Steelers old-timer that provided Pittsburgh (5-1) with the winning points.

The Cowboys (2-3) had the ball on the Steelers 47 and facing third down with a 20-17 lead with under 3 minutes left.

When Testaverde dropped back to pass, James Farrior, who had two sacks and caused two other fumbles, crashed through the line to knock the ball loose again. Kimo von Oelhoffen scooped it up and ran to the Dallas 24 to set up the winning drive.

The Steelers drove to the 2 and Jerome Bettis rumbled in for the final touchdown in the last minute.

"We made a mistake and it cost us bigtime," Parcells said.

The Cowboys (2-3) had one last chance to win with some razzle-dazzle. Dallas covered 30 yards on a pass and lateral that moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 30 with 1 second left. But Testaverde's final throw into the end zone fell incomplete.

"That one big mistake at the end cost us," said Testaverde, who was 23-of-36 for 284 yards. "If we hold onto the ball, the worst case we punt and they have to go 80 yards for either a touchdown or a field goal to tie."

Farrior was grateful.

"We had a little present today," Farrior said. "But we'll take it and we appreciate it."

The Steelers have won four in a row. And it will be Roethlisberger, the cool rookie who stood in the pocket and made some tough throws against a rugged pass rush, who will be credited with guiding them to this one.

"I was trying not to get hurt," said Roethlisberger, who was sacked three times but avoided several others. "I was able to make some people miss and luckily I have the best receivers in the game."

Roethlisberger was sharp at the outset. After Richie Anderson capped the Cowboys' first drive with a 21-yard TD run, the Steelers marched downfield to tie it on Roethlisberger's 5-yard pass to Burress.

In that one play, Roethlisberger showed more mobility than Marino ever did, scrambling out of the pocket to his right and slinging the ball to Burress an instant before Marcellus Wiley tackled him from behind.

The play excited the many Steelers fans sprinkled throughout Texas Stadium who waved their signature "Terrible Towels" with every first down.

"For a minute there I thought we were in Pittsburgh," said Cowboys linebacker Dexter Coakley. "It felt like it was a home game for them."

The Cowboys led 13-10 in the third period when Testaverde connected with Keyshawn Johnson on a 22-yard TD. But the Steelers made it 20-17 on Roethlisberger's TD pass to Jerame Tuman when he stood flat-footed in the pocket and rifled the ball to the back of the end zone.

"There was no panic," said Hines Ward, who led the Steelers with nine catches. "He showed a lot of poise and relied on the veteran guys around him."

The Cowboys had their chance to close it out before the final fumble. But the Steelers weren't going to let Testaverde have a free shot at a first down.

"We had to blitz," said Steelers coach Bill Cowher. "We couldn't let Vinny just sit back there and get into a rhythm. We had to find a way to disrupt him."

Notes: The Steelers got the win, but nose tackle Casey Hampton and cornerback Chad Scott both suffered right knee injuries and Cowher said "It's not good news. Both could be gone for the year." Cowher said the team would wait for further tests Monday. ... Johnson's third-quarter TD was the 50th of his career .... Bettis was averaging only 1.8 yards per carry coming in, but already has seven TDs.

Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press

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Scoring Summary

THIRD QUARTERPITDAL
dalTD3:21Touchdown
Drive info: 3 plays, 68 yds, 0:50
1019
dal3:21
Drive info: 3 plays, 68 yds, 0:50
1020
FOURTH QUARTERPITDAL
pitTD1:00Jerome Bettis, 1 yd run
Drive info: 5 plays, 24 yds, 1:36
2320
SECOND QUARTERPITDAL
pitFG5:00Jeff Reed 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 7 plays, 31 yds, 3:50
107
FOURTH QUARTERPITDAL
pit1:00
Drive info: 5 plays, 24 yds, 1:36
2420
FIRST QUARTERPITDAL
pitTD5:40Touchdown
Drive info: 7 plays, 75 yds, 3:30
67
pit5:40
Drive info: 7 plays, 75 yds, 3:30
77
dalTD9:37Richie Anderson, 21 yd run
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yds, 5:17
06
dal9:37
Drive info: 11 plays, 75 yds, 5:17
07
THIRD QUARTERPITDAL
dalFG5:43Billy Cundiff 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 12 plays, 55 yds, 5:57
1013
FOURTH QUARTERPITDAL
pitTD12:20Touchdown
Drive info: 11 plays, 74 yds, 5:33
1620
pit12:20
Drive info: 11 plays, 74 yds, 5:33
1720
SECOND QUARTERPITDAL
dalFG0:20Billy Cundiff 10 yd Field Goal
Drive info: 10 plays, 56 yds, 1:21
1010