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Week 15 Game Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers 24, Dallas Cowboys 27

Pittsburgh Steelers

QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pass: 24 - 40 - 339 - 2 TD / 1 INT, Rush: 2 - 2 - 0

Roethisberger was nearly intercepted on his third pass of the game when he combined a poor decision with an inaccurate throw. He threw a slant to Antonio Brown, who's defensive back was in press coverage at the line of scrimmage. The defensive back deflected the ball into the air, but a Cowboys' defensive lineman couldn't hold onto the ball. Roethlisberger rebounded with a perfect pass to Emmanuel Sanders over the middle, but Sanders couldn't hold onto it when he was hit by two defenders. Roethlisberger wasn't having a great game in the first half. He wasn't under pressure in the pocket very often but couldn't connect with his receivers. Once they got under two minutes however, Roethlisberger came alive as the Cowboys got some pressure in the backfield. He first evaded a blitz to hit Antonio Brown down the field, before waiting for an age in the pocket against a three man rush to hit Heath Miller wide open down the sideline for a touchdown. Having finally connected with a deep ball to Mike Wallace to set up a short touchdown run for Dwyer, Roethlisberger marched his team down the field for his second touchdown on a quick throw to Brown in the flat at the goalline. Roethlisberger had a very good second half compared to his first, but threw the game sealing interception to Brandon Carr when trying to hit Mike Wallace on a deep out route.

RB Jonathan Dwyer, Rush: 9 - 22 - 1 (1 targets)

Dwyer's first carry went for six yards through a good hole inside left tackle. Dwyer ran again off left guard for a four yard gain. Dwyer's third carry was finally stopped for just one yard as he bounced off the a pile of bodies at the line of scrimmage. Dwyer was shut down before he could get to the line of scrimmage on his next run. Dwyer's next carry came at the beginning of the third quarter when he pushed his way up the middle for four yards. A similar draw play was stopped for little more than one yard on the next play. After the big play to Mike Wallace, Jonathan Dwyer ran the ball in behind David DeCastro for a touchdown. It was the typical run that Isaac Redman normally makes for the Steelers. Dwyer was bottled up with his first carry on the Steelers' drive in the fourth quarter. Dwyer took a draw play over right tackle for four yards.

RB Isaac Redman, Rush: 3 - 30 - 0, Rec: 1 - 14 - 0 (1 targets)

Redman's first involvement was a reception for 14 yards when Roethlisberger checked the ball down to him in the flat for a first down. Despite tripping at the line of scrimmage with his first carry, Redman stumbled forward for a gain of five yards. Redman's longest run of the day came when he reversed the field on a handoff over right guard before breaking tackles to rumble down the left sideline. Redman limped to the bench after that run, but came straight back to throw a key block in a big passing play before carrying up the middle for a gain of four yards.

RB Chris Rainey, Rush: 3 - 15 - 0 (2 targets)

Rainey's first carry came at the beginning of the second quarter when he took the ball off of a draw for five yards. The Steelers went straight back to Rainey when he was inches away from escaping for a the first down, but instead was tackled inches short of the first down from behind. Rainey gained six yards on another draw play before the half.

WR Antonio Brown, Rec: 8 - 76 - 1 (12 targets)

Brown beat Mike Jenkins running a quick out from the slot against single coverage. He caught the pass for a first down. Brown made an excellent reception over the middle when he worked back to the football and endured a big hit from Sterling Moore to convert for a first down and a big play. The Steelers went straight back to him on a bubble screen that went for a four yard gain. It wasn't well blocked, as the defense read it, but Brown pushed his way forward. After his quarterback evaded pressure, Brown stayed alive running across the field for a reception down the field and a first down. Brown wasn't as heavily involved in the offense as he normally is when fully healthy, but came free at the goalline from a stacked formation to evade Mike Jenkins for a touchdown at the goalline. After his fumble on the punt return, the Steelers next went back to Brown with a bubble screen that was limited to two yards. Brown caught a slant pass for a first down against single coverage after Roethlisberger couldn't connect with him on a deep comeback. Brown made another mistake on a punt return by not catching the ball, before running out of bounds on a third and 20+checkdown to stop the clock for the Cowboys.

WR Mike Wallace, Rec: 4 - 95 - 0 (10 targets)

Roethlisberger and Wallace couldn't connect early in the game over the middle when Brandon Carr made a good play on the football. Roethlisberger went back to Wallace again in the first quarter as he tried to hit him deep down the right sideline, but couldn't connect again. Roehtlisberger went straight back to Wallace for a backshoulder throw and a first down on the next snap. The Cowboys challenged that reception however and it was overturned. Another drop for Wallace. Wallace finally caught the deep ball behind the secondary that had been evading him all season long in the third quarter. Wallace ran a deep seam route before catching the ball inside the two yard line. After his big gain deep, Roethlisberger threw a slant bubble screen to Wallace that went for 20 yards down the right sideline. Wallace caught a crossing route underneath on second and six for four yards. Wallace caught a wide open curl route underneath for 11 yards and a first down.

WR Jerricho Cotchery, Rec: 2 - 28 - 0 (2 targets)

Cotchery's first reception went for a first down over the middle on third and five. He fell forward for a first down as a defender hit him immediately after the catch. Cotchery made an outstanding reception after finding a soft spot against zone coverage on a crossing route. Cotchery was wide open, but had to fully extend to bring the ball in.

WR Emmanuel Sanders (1 targets)

Sanders' first target came deep over the middle when he was hit immediately by two defenders, he caught the ball but couldn't complete the process of the catch.

TE Heath Miller, Rec: 7 - 92 - 1 (7 targets)

Miller caught a curl underneath before turning upfield for a first down and 12 yards. Roethlisberger hit Miller for a 17 yard gain over the middle with a defender draped over his back. Miller was hit by Roethlisberger running an underneath route across the field before he turned forward for an eight yard gain. Miller caught another crossing route when he faked a stop over the middle and beat a defender for 13 yards. Roethlisberger went straight back to Miller for a six yard gain running a similar route. After 47/48 pump fakes in the pocket, Roethlisberger found Miller wide open on the right sideline. Miller caught the ball 20 yards from the goal-line, but had an easy run in to the endzone. Miller caught a six yard curl underneath to start overtime.

Dallas Cowboys

QB Tony Romo, Pass: 30 - 42 - 341 - 2 TD / 0 INT, Rush: 4 - -4 - 0

Outside of one play, Romo wasn't under pressure in the pocket early on against the Steelers. Because of that, he was able to easily pick apart the Steelers' overmatched coverage. After settling for a field goal on their first drive, and a Demarco Murray fumble at the goalline ended their second, Romo correctly identified the Steelers' undrafted rookie playing safety and took advantage of his hesitation in coverage against play action. That led to a wide open touchdown reception for Jason Witten. Romo was making plays consistently against a suspect Steelers' secondary. He did take one huge sack from Lawrence Timmons, but managed to convert a second and 23 before hitting Dez Bryant on a back shoulder fade with a beautiful pass in the endzone for his second touchdown. Romo drove his team down to the goalline before DeMarco Murray ran the ball in for the game-tying touchdown, but couldn't put his team in field goal range when he slightly overthrew Jason Witten in the dying moments of regulation.

RB DeMarco Murray, Rush: 14 - 81 - 1, Rec: 4 - 31 - 0 (4 targets)

Murray's first carry was stopped for just two yards over right tackle. Murray's second carry went for nine yards when he broke off left tackle on third and one. On second and one, Murray cutback when running to the left for another nine yard gain into the secondary. Murray pushed his way up the middle for a four yard gain with his next carry. Murray broke free over left guard when he bounced off a poor attempted tackle from Brett Keisel and sprinted down the sideline for a big gain. Murray bounced off another Keisel tackle up the middle near the goalline,but as he tried to escape the middle of the field, James Harrison hit him to knock the ball free and Keisel recovered it for the turnover. Murray returned to the field after his fumble, but was stopped short of the first down on second and two. He got the ball again on the next snap to fight forward for three yards and a first down. On a draw play on third and 30, Murray was stopped by Ryan Clark after a three yard gain. Murray was stopped after a two yard gain up the middle on second and three. Murray looked set to get the first down on the next play running off left tackle, but Lawrence Timmons made a very athletic play to stop him for no gain. Murray broke off another big run when he ran outside left tackle before cutting back across the field and only being stopped by Troy Polamalu. Murray was stopped by the Steelers' other safety, Ryan Clark, on his next carry, but Clark stopped him in the hole at the line of scrimmage. On his next carry, Clark was more worried about Dez Bryant at the goalline, which allowed Murray to run straight through his gap for a touchdown at the goalline.

Murray was active as a receiver, but all of his receptions came on check downs out of the backfield when he carried the ball forward as if it was an extension of the running game.

RB Felix Jones, Rush: 3 - 10 - 0

Jones came in for a two yard gain out of the shotgun formation on the Cowboys' first drive. Jones had the first carry of the Cowboys' drive after Murray fumbled, as he escaped to the edge for four yards. Jones came in for another carry from the shotgun formation late in the third quarter, when he was held to four yards on second and five.

WR Miles Austin, Rec: 7 - 79 - 0 (10 targets)

Austin caught a pass late in the play as he ran a deep out route for a first down. Austin caught a wide open pass in the flat when the Steelers blew a coverage. Austin went forward for eight yards and a first down. Austin caught a pass down the other sideline on the very next play when he ran a comeback and was wide open against the Steelers' replacement cornerback. For the third play in a row, Austin caught a pass. This time a comeback against the same defensive back, but against better coverage. Austin caught a bubble screen for seven yards, but the reception was negated by a holding penalty on the receiver blocking for him. Austin caught another eight yard curl against the Steelers' off coverage outside. Lined up in the slot, Austin caught a quick pass from Romo before running forward against soft coverage for a first down.

WR Dez Bryant, Rec: 4 - 59 - 1 (9 targets)

Bryant caught his first pass against Keenan Lewis on a curl route when he wheeled Lewis around for a first down and 12 yards. Bryant caught a 14 yard pass on third and 15 that was negated for a holding call on the offensive line. Bryant caught a quick pass in the flat for a seven yard gain against off coverage. Bryant was having a quiet game, but Tony Romo found him in the endzone when he lost Keenan Lewis by adjusting to a back shoulder throw that the defensive back couldn't see. Bryant caught a deep comeback in single coverage against Keenan Lewis for 13 yards and a first down.

WR Dwayne Harris, Rec: 4 - 46 - 0 (4 targets)

Harris caught a six yard pass for a first down in the flat when he had to fight his way forward for a first down against a cornerback. After a big sack from Lawrence Timmons, Romo threw a bubble screen to Harris on second and 23. He broke multiple tackles for an 18 yard gain. Harris caught another quick pass in the flat on first and 10, when he broke two tackles to bring the Cowboys to the Steelers' goalline.

WR Cole Beasley, Rec: 2 - 14 - 0 (2 targets)

Beasley caught a quick out for six yards on the Cowboys' first drive. Beasley didn't catch his second pass until the third quarter, after his first came in the first quarter. His second reception was similar to his first as he ran a quick out route for a first down.

WR Kevin Ogletree, Rec: 1 - 9 - 0 (1 targets)

Ogletree caught a nine yard curl route underneath against off coverage.

TE Jason Witten, Rec: 5 - 43 - 1 (8 targets)

Witten's first target was a reception...for a touchdown. Witten was wide open off of play action in the endzone for an easy score. His next target came on the following drive over the middle, but the result was very different as he dropped the ball against tight coverage. Witten caught a curl route against off coverage for an five yard gain. Witten worked back to the football for a seven yard gain that was negated by a penalty on the Cowboys' offensive line. The Cowboys replied by running exactly the same route for the same gain on the next play. Witten caught a curl underneat the Steelers' safety coverage for a nine yard gain and a first down. With the Cowboys driving to win the game, Witten caught another curl route underneath for six yards.

TE James Hanna, Rec: 2 - 45 - 0 (2 targets)

Hanna sprinted away from Larry Foote on a crossing route underneath for a first down. Romo went back to Hanna on first and 20 as he ran away from James Harrison down the field for a 29 yard gain.

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