Steelers 24, Dallas Cowboys 20
October 17, 2004
Sometimes all it takes is one play, and in a come-from-behind win in Dallas an entire battle came down to one huge play by the Steelers defense.
In 2004 the Steelers defeated the Cowboys in a regular season game 24-20.
The Steelers were trailing the Cowboys 20-17 with 2:36 to play in the game. Cowboys quarterback Vinny Testaverde was under pressure by linebacker James Farrior, as he went back to pass he lost the football. Defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen recovered, and returned it 21 yards to give the Steelers the ball back with 2:24 to play at the Dallas 24-yard line.
"I just didn't want to lose the ball," said von Oelhoffen. "Once I was inside the 30, I just wanted to get down without losing the ball. Not the same for the fast guys, though. For them, it's go buddy go. I wasn't tired, I'm just slow. I'm not that fast. If someone had come up behind me I probably would have lost the ball.
"It was a good play but there were 11 people involved. We all helped it work out. I saw it pop out. I thought somebody hit it, but it was good. It shows the character of this team. But there's still a lot to work on. But we're tough; mentally tough. That mental toughness, it's innate. But the Steelers have got it. It's true competitiveness."
Ben Roethlisberger, who knew it was end zone or bust, showed that competitiveness on the ensuing drive. He completed an 11 yard pass to Plaxico Burress and hit Jerame Tuman for six yards. Duce Staley took it for five yards to the two-yard line. Jerome Bettis then hit pay dirt on a two-yard run for a 24-20 lead with only 30 ticks left on the clock.
The Cowboys never said die, but after driving to the Steelers 30-yard line Russell Stuvaints broke up Testaverde's pass in the end zone for the win.
"What a game," said Coach Bill Cowher. "They were a desperate team and they played hard as we expected them to. Vinny was playing very well and we had to make some plays in order to stop him. We had a lot of momentum going into the second half which was important to our game. Our defense made key stops when we had to."
Roethlisberger completed 21 of 25 passes for 193 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions as the rookie quarterback was unfazed by a minor knee injury as he improved his starting record to 4-0.
"I can't say enough about him, I thought this would be a good test for him and it was," said Cowher. "There was a period of time when he was trying to get down the field too much. We've been very good in the red zone and that has been great for us."
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