The Correct Story Lines From Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH – Sunday’s thrilling 35-30 comeback victory against the Steelers at Heinz Field wasn’t about any of the storylines Cowboys critics continue to manufacture. Investigating Zeke? Puppet Garrett? Pouting Romo? Meddling Jerry? Deztractions?
Those aren’t the real stories.
“How our team responded in the latter part of the game is indicative of what they’re all about, the kind of people we have on our team, the mental toughness they have, the poise and composure,” Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said after a game won because Dallas somehow scored twice in the final two minutes in this hostile environment. “Our ability to execute when we had to was obviously critical to the outcome.”
Rookie running back Ezekiel Elliott was a centerpiece of that as he scored on 32-yard run with nine seconds left to essential seal the deal. Zeke rushed for two TDs and scored another on an 83-yard screen pass. He surpassed the 1,000-yard rushing milestone and has 1,005 yards for the season.
Dallas’ other prized rookie, QB Dak Prescott, overcame occasional struggles to pass for 319 yards and two touchdowns, and to embody what this team specializes in: Resiliency.
The Cowboys’ winning streak is at eight, tying a team record set in 1977, and it’s been built by overcoming adversity. That was the case for Dez Bryant. His father passed away this weekend, and Bryant poured his emotion into on-field success with six catches for 116 yards and a 50-yard TD.
And it was surely the case for Dak, who has this job because Tony Romo got hurt in the preseason….but who is keeping this job this week even as Romo will be active on the roster next Sunday against the Ravens.
Romo is supportive of management’s “hot-play” here, and is also supportive of Prescott, whose team was trailing 24-23 in the closing moments before he directed a 75-scoring drive capped by Elliott’s 14-yard touchdown burst with 1:55 left to play.
Too much time left? Yes, as Pittsburgh’s Ben Roethlisberger tossed a 15-yard touchdown to Antonio Brown with 42 seconds on the clock to give the Steelers a 30-29 lead.
Too much time left again? Yes, because Prescott engineered another 75-yard drive, this one on five plays over the next 33 seconds, for the victory.
“I thought,” Garrett said of Dak, “he was remarkable.”
And that is the sort of stuff — and not these manufactured-controversy storylines — that Cowboys Nation should be “remarking” about.