Week 9 Recap: Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Dallas Cowboys

A game between two teams once thought to be two premier Super Bowl contenders heading into the 2020 season; the Pittsburgh Steelers traveled to Dallas to battle the Cowboys on Sunday.

Looking to remain unbeaten on the season, the Steelers jumped out to a slow start. This lead to zero points through their first four possessions. Trying to remain in the NFC East hunt with their playoff hopes beginning to slip, the Cowboys jumped out to a 13-9 lead heading into halftime. Battling back in the second half, the Steelers ultimately took the lead late on a five-yard touchdown reception by tight end Eric Ebron and held on to advance to 8-0 and remain atop the AFC.

First Half

Opening up the game on offense, the red hot Steelers offense looked to open up the scoring. Moving the ball into Dallas territory, running back James Conner carried the load on this possession with 25 rushing yards on the drive. Ultimately stalling out after an incomplete pass on third and seven just inside their opponent’s territory, Pittsburgh would eventually punt the ball away. Looking sharp early on during his first NFL start, Dallas quarterback Garrett Gilbert orchestrated a 12 play drive, taking more than six minutes off the clock. Moving the ball inside their opponent’s red zone, Gilbert found wide receiver Amari Cooper for 32 yards to kick start the drive. Unable to find the end zone after a sack by Alex Highsmith on third and ten from the Pittsburgh 14 yard line, the Cowboys would settle for a Greg Zuerlein 38 yard field goal to open the scoring at 3-0.

Sleepwalking on their next two offensive possessions, the Steelers gave the Cowboys a chance to extend their lead after two straight punts. Rushing for 26 yards on the drive, Gilbert found rookie Cedee Lamb for a 26-yard touchdown strike to extend his team’s lead to 10-0. Following another Pittsburgh three and out, a long punt return by Dallas special teams captain C.J. Goodwin would set his team up for another field goal to extend the lead to 13-0. Finally able to kick start their offense, Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense would find the end zone. Finding four different receivers in the drive, a 17-yard touchdown reception by James Washington cut the Dallas lead to 13-6 after a missed extra point.

Relying on their defense to make plays like they have all season long, the Steelers group would make a play once again. Dropping back on the first play on the games ensuing possession, a catch fumble by tight end Dalton Schultz gave Pittsburgh the ball back. Without Roethlisberger after suffering a knee injury while getting rolled up on in the pocket, backup quarterback Mason Rudolph would move his team into field goal territory to set up a 59-yard boot by Chris Boswell to cut the lead to 13-9 at the half time break.

Second Half

Beginning the final half with the football, the Cowboys would put points on the board once again. Balancing the run and the pass nicely on this drive, the team took nearly five minutes off the clock. Stalling out just inside the range of Zuerlein once again, a 45-yard boot extended the margin to 16-9. Able to force Pittsburgh into a quick three and out once more, a long drive by Dallas would restore a two-possession lead. Benefitting from 24 rush yards between starting running back Ezekiel Elliott and backup Tony Pollard, a fourth field goal of the day gave Mike Mccarthy’s team a ten-point lead heading into the games final quarter.

Pulling within one score just eight plays into the fourth quarter, a 31-yard touchdown reception by receiver J.J. Smith Schuster cut the Cowboys lead to four. Looking to re-establish their two-score lead, Gilbert and the Dallas offense would benefit from a long kickoff return once again. Setting up shop deep inside their opponent’s territory, three straight rushes by Elliott would give his team a first and goal at the Steelers seven-yard line. Looking to capitalize, an ill-advised decision by Gilbert would cost the Cowboys points. With the pressure bearing down on him, the veteran signal-caller would be intercepted by Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick in a big momentum swing. 

Capitalizing off the turnover, an 11 play 55-yard drive would set Chris Boswell up for his second field goal of the day and cut the lead to one with just over seven minutes left in regulation. After just one first down on their ensuing possession, a Cowboys punt would set up Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense to take their first lead of the game. Needing just seven plays to find the end zone, the longtime veteran would find rookie Chase Claypool twice on the drive to set up the go-ahead eight-yard touchdown strike to tight end Eric Ebron. Trying to play spoiler on this day, Kellen Moore’s offense would be given one final shot to pull off the upset. After receptions by Lamb and Michael Gallup, the team would set up with one last play from their opponents 29-yard line. Looking into the end zone, Gilbert’s pass would be knocked away by Fitzpatrick to seal the victory for Pittsburgh.


The only unbeaten team remaining in the NFL through nine weeks, the Steelers return home to battle the Cincinnati Bengals next Sunday at 4:25 pm. Fresh off a bye, Zac Taylor‘s team is riding high after a victory over the AFC South-leading Tennessee Titans and should give Mike Tomlin’s team all they can handle. Quickly on life support with their divisional championship hopes in jeopardy, the Cowboys head into a week 10 bye with hope to get back up quarterback Andy Dalton back for their week 11 matchup with the suddenly surging Minnesota Vikings.

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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images

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