The self-inflicted wounds bled the Cowboys as much as the Steelers' bullets.
-- A forced second quarter Tony Romo fade from his own red zone was minimized by a defensive stand but it handed Pittsburgh their first three points.
-- A punt coverage breakdown put Pittsburgh on the Dallas 25, undoing a Cowboys goal line stand. The Steelers gained just two yards but the field position gifted them their second field goal of the day.
-- Confusion in the Dallas secondary left Nate Washington alone in the center of the Dallas secondary for 21 yards on the Steelers' lone touchdown drive of the day.
-- Two brainless routes by Jason Witten clinched the game. His broken route put him short his intended spot and Tony Romo's pass sailed over his head into the hands of Deshea Townsend, who returned the pick for the game-winning score.
-- He later failed to look for a Romo pass on a 4th-and-ten seam route with a minute left. Witten was open near mid-field but never looked for the pass.
The Cowboys are therefore left to kick themselves. They played hard. The defense sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times. It held the Steelers to just 239 yards, fifty fewer than the Steelers allowed. Tashard Choice played superbly in his debut, rushing for 88 yards and catching a team-leading 78 receiving yards.
But numerous opportunities to seize the game escaped them. A punt bounced off Tra Battle's leg near midfield after Dallas had stopped Pittsburgh inside their own five. The fumble was recovered by the Steelers. The Steelers could not advance the ball, but their subsequent punt pinned Dallas inside their five. Battle's gaffe cost Dallas 50 yards of field position. What's worse, it put the Steelers in instant field goal position when Romo short armed his fade one play later.
Broken routes destroyed Romo's day. His first pick came when Terrell Owens cut a deep out short. His last when Witten ran a hook rather than an out.
The defense can sue for non-support tomorrow. They allowed seven points. The offense scored 13 and allowed 13. The defense can't be counted on to score.
On to the Giants game.