By Teresa Varley
All season long the Steelers have had different players step up on defense and that was no different on Sunday against the Cowboys in a 20-13 win at Heinz Field.
This time it was cornerback Deshea Townsend who came through in the clutch with a game-winning interception return late in the fourth quarter.
Townsend, who began the season as the starting right corner, has battled injuries and has only been a spot starter since then. But he has been steady and consistent and came through with the play of the game against the Cowboys.
"This guy is a veteran football player who is capable of making plays for us," said head coach Mike Tomlin. "He is a team-guy; he doesn't care about anything but winning. I have limited him some in an effort to keep him up and running. I have made him a sub-package football player; he hasn't blinked. It is great that he had an opportunity to make a significant play like that for us because he is as deserving as anyone."
Townsend's big play came in the fourth quarter with just under two minutes remaining on the clock and the game tied at 13-13. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo overthrew tight end Jason Witten and Townsend was there for the taking, intercepting the pass and returning it 25 yards for the touchdown and the come-from-behind win.
"Everybody wants to do their part to help the team win and tonight it was my job to help," said Townsend. "It felt good just catching it cleanly."
And after he caught it, there was no doubt he was going to score.
"I saw the tight end and nothing else was there," said Townsend. "If I had gotten caught by the tight end, I'm sure the rest of the fellas wouldn't let me live it down. It felt good to catch it cleanly and get to the end zone."
The interception was just one of many great plays the defense made all day, with Ike Taylor and Troy Polamalu both adding interceptions and Romo being sacked five times.
"We have a great team defense," said Townsend. "There's not one person on this defense that will say they'll take all the credit. We all know that it goes up front with the linebackers and the secondary. In order for us to stop the run, the secondary has to be a part, and in order to stop the pass the D-line and linebackers have to be a part. And that's one thing that makes us a close group. We all genuinely care about one another. And we care about our defense."