We’ve just witnessed the wildest football tilt of the year.
In a contest boasting seven lead changes — and no less than six failed two-point tries — the Dallas Cowboys topped the Pittsburgh Steelers, 35-30, on Sunday in a drama stuffed with countless narratives and star turns.
The last of those heroics — a brilliant, game-winning, 32-yard touchdown burst by Ezekiel Elliott — came only seconds after Pittsburgh appeared to steal the show with a juicy bit of trickery.
Trailing 29-24 with 43 ticks left on the clock, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger jersey did his best Dan Marino impression, catching Dallas off-guard with a fake spike that turned into a 15-yard touchdown strike to Antonio Brown for the 30-29 lead.
Refusing to give in, Dallas — taking over with 42 seconds left — marched gracefully down the field on a five-play, 75-yard drive capped by Elliott’s touchdown rumble.
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Here’s what else we learned from Sunday’s stunner:
1. Fresh off an underwhelming performance against Baltimore, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger tore through the enemy for an outrageous 408 yards and three scores — earning everything but the victory. Picking on a roster missing safety Barry Church and cover man Morris Claiborne jersey — and Orlando Scandrick for parts of Sunday — Big Ben confidently fired the ball downfield while leaning heavily on Brown. The All-Pro pass-catcher led the team with 14 catches and 154 yards, both season highs.
2. Still not impressed with Dak Prescott? In a game that saw him struggle early — generating a surplus of thunderously tedious Twitter takes — the Cowboys rookie passer threw a pair of touchdown passes and calmly guided Dallas on seven scoring drives — including 24 points over the final 20:39 of play. Finishing the day at a gaudy 10.0 yards per throw, Prescott found Dez Bryant on a 50-yard touchdown pass and saw his lob to Elliott turn into an 83-yard scoring catch. Dallas isn’t a team that loves to play from behind, but Prescott answered the call time after time. This job is his.
3. A shoe-in Rookie of the Year candidate, Elliott looked sensational piling up 100-plus total yards in the first quarter alone. The output was sparked by his long touchdown grab, but Elliott’s game-saving scoring gallop also put him over 100 yards on the ground for the fifth time this autumn.
4. The Steelers jerseys have been the most aggressive team around when it comes to dialing up two-point conversions. It cost them on Sunday, though, as Pittsburgh saw four two-point tries fall short. Two came in the first quarter — including a miss to long-lost tight end Ladarius Green — which affected the team’s strategy all game. We love the edgy approach, but the Steelers wound up chasing those points down the stretch.
5. The loss aside, Pittsburgh remains just a game behind Baltimore in the AFC North with upcoming tilts against the Browns, Colts and Giants before a second game with Cleveland down the stretch. Meanwhile, mighty Dallas will aim for its ninth straight win when it hosts the Ravens in Week 11.
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The Pittsburgh Steelers swapped injured defensive end Cameron Heyward for second-year pass rusher Bud Dupree on Saturday, officially placing the former on cheap NFL jerseys and injured reserve while activating the latter.
Dupree missed the entire preseason and spent the first nine games of the 2016 season on IR after undergoing surgery to fix a core muscle tear. The outside linebacker took first-team reps in practice this week and was hopeful to play on Sunday against the Browns. Dupree had a promising rookie campaign in 2015, tallying four sacks and 26 tackles in five starts and 16 games.
Pittsburgh also placed wide receiver Markus Wheaton jersey on injured reserve on Saturday. The wideout has been dealing with a shoulder injury and hasn’t played since Week 5. Dupree’s return means Wheaton will miss the remainder of the season.
Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense has gotten along just fine without Wheaton, using Eli Rogers and Sammie Coates more often across from wholesale jerseys and Antonio Brown. But depth at the position may become an issue as the weather turns and Pittsburgh seeks to grind out an AFC North title.
The Pittsburgh region has become a leading center for the research and treatment of sports-related concussion injuries. This is highlighted by the UPMC Sports Medicine Concussion Program, considered one of the most respected in the world for the treatment of sports concussions. In 2015, the UPMC Sport Medicine Concussion Program hosted a conference in Pittsburgh which included over 30 renowned Neurologists, clinicians and researchers from around the country. The experts gathered to share the latest research in concussion treatment, and propose standards and guidelines on the best practices, protocols and active therapies for successfully treating concussions. A key result of the conference was a joint statement affirming that concussions are treatable.
“The Pittsburgh Steelers are extremely committed to the science of brain research and the evaluation of treatments for sports-related concussions,â said Rooney II. âWe are pleased to be part of the launch of this important research foundation, and are committed to helping support the funding of research efforts. I cannot think of anyone more fitting for the Foundation to be named after than Chuck Noll. His contribution to advancing the way sports-related injuries are diagnosed and treated is immeasurable.”