Strong start not enough: Anthony Chickillo wasn't announced with the starting defense, but he started at left outside linebacker and made an immediate impact.
On the first series of the game Chickillo got to Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott for a sack and forced fumble. Ryan Shazier recovered. The offense took advantage and turned it into a two-yard touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger to Le'Veon Bell to give the Steelers an early 6-0 lead.
But it wasn't enough.
"We don't have enough detail," said Shazier. "We just have to do a better job of being more detailed. We just have to find a way to win. We found a way to lose today and they didn't. So we just have to do a better job."
Follow me: Last week Ben Roethlisberger told his teammates 'follow me.' And on Sunday Roethlisberger showed what kind of leader he is. Roethlisberger completed 37 passes for 408 yards and three touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 125.4.
Roethlisberger moved into 10th place in NFL history for the most touchdown passes in with 292, passing Warren Moon who had 291.
Roethlisberger became the 11th player in NFL history with at least 45,000 yards, the eighth player to do it with one team. He reached the landmark number in the fifth fewest games of any player, 179.
But despite his performance, it was a frustrating day for Roethlisberger as the Steelers fell to the Cowboys, 35-30 and he indicated the team needs to be more accountable.
"We'll chew this up. And we need to be more disciplined and more accountable," said Roethlisberger. "We just have to make plays and be accountable and be disciplined."
Calling it himself: With time running out, Roethlisberger made a call that the Cowboys weren't expecting. The defense thought Roethlisberger was going to spike the ball, but instead he gave Antonio Brown a 'look' and threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to him.
"Ben made a great call," said Brown. "We knew in that situation that they were expecting us to spike the ball. Ben shot me a signal, and we were able to execute in that situation. It was all Ben. We practice that situation. Just being ready, I got his eyes, he gave me a good signal, and we were able to execute."
The Steelers took a 30-29 lead at that point, but weren't able to hold on.
"I called it. He (Brown) saw me call it," said Roethlisberger. "Todd (Haley) was in my head yelling, 'Don't waste a down.' But I knew what we were doing, so I'm glad it worked."
Day of firsts: There were a handful of 'firsts' on Sunday for several Steelers players. Ladarius Green, who was activated on Saturday, made his first reception with the Steelers. Green finished with three catches for 30 yards.
Le'Veon Bell scored his first touchdown of the season with the two-yard reception from Roethlisberger in the first quarter. He also scored his first rushing touchdown of the season, a one-yarder in the fourth quarter. It's the second time, though, in his career that he has had a game with a rushing and receiving touchdown.
Stephon Tuitt got his first sack of the season when he got to Prescott late in the third quarter for a 12 yard loss.
They said it:
Coach Mike Tomlin on the Steelers going for two-point conversions early in the game:
"We want to be aggressive. That's not out of line with our personality. Not only recently, but in recent years."
Shazier on if this team can turn things around:
"We definitely have the guys in this locker room to definitely turn it around. We just have to find ways how to do it. If we have to practice harder, or do whatever we need to do, we have to find a way to win and find a way to get to the playoffs. We're a good enough team to win the Super Bowl, but lately we haven't been playing like it. We just have to find a way to do it."