The Dallas Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers are two of the most storied franchises of the Super Bowl era, in part due to the two teams dominance in the big game itself. The 2016 editions of the respective franchises might not be destined to meet for the sterling silver Tiffany-crafted trophy that signifies the best in professional football, but that did not stop them dishing up the best football we have seen all season. Even if you hate both teams that did battle in Pittsburgh, this was the game to watch.
Writers around the country have already started to dub this one as the game of the year and with good reason. Seven lead changes and 65 points scored between the two combatants left the final result in doubt until deep into the fourth quarter. There were big plays made by both offenses. The big names from both squads came through at critical junctures for their teams. As soon a one team seized a bit of momentum along came the other and took it back. It was obvious that the deciding points would come in the final minute.
Late in the fourth quarter, Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger led his teammates down the field for what could be a game-winning drive. Using the “fake spike” play, he hit Antonio Brown for a touchdown and the lead. Big Ben only made one mistake; he left Dak Prescott a little bit of time. As he did earlier this season, the Cowboys rookie passer responded by leading the silver and blue down the field toward a final scoring opportunity. Jason Witten came up big in the passing game for Dallas and his efforts, along with a penalty flag, set Dan Bailey up for another game winning field goal.
Not so fast. Ezekiel Elliot decided that he wanted to be the only man in professional football who could stop the Dallas kicker. Rather than setting his fellow Cowboy up for a kick to seal the Dallas victory, Zeke decided to take his final carry of the afternoon to the house. His second touchdown of the final stanza put the Cowboys up 35-30. It would be the final score of the game. With nine seconds let to play the Cowboys defense played it safe and allowed the Steelers to pad their offensive stats with some meaningless yards as time expired.
The Cowboys continue to prove that they are currently the hottest team in football, but the Steelers also proved that they are a better team than their current record indicates. Both squads left it all on the field. Dallas walked away from the game with a hard earned victory, their eighth in a row, but the fans watching this game were the real winners. Games like this one are why we watch football.