ARLINGTON, Texas — The Cowboys, operating again Ezekiel Elliott desires to be clear, should not looking ethical victories.
“We’re nonetheless right here to win soccer video games,” Elliott stated after a 24-19 loss to Pittsburgh. “And we acquired to determine methods to win soccer video games.”
But when Elliott is cautious to rejoice any discoveries about what a 5-point loss to the undefeated Steelers says in regards to the Cowboys, enable DeMarcus Lawrence to unpack what the competition stated about their competitors.
“I don’t really feel like no person on this league is elite,” Lawrence stated because the Cowboys fell to 2-7 and the Steelers improved to 8-0. “You have a look at their schedule or their document, and their document may say totally different. However clearly, by wanting on the sport in the present day, ain’t no person elite.
“All people has an opportunity to win.”
Maybe that got here as a shock to some after the Cowboys, beginning their fourth totally different quarterback in 5 weeks, have been deemed 14.5-point underdogs at residence in opposition to Pittsburgh. Add within the league’s worst speeding protection, most turnover-happy offense and a particular groups unit that failed even to constantly area 11 gamers in a number of video games? The Cowboys’ outlook coming into the Steelers sport was bleak. Their view rising from the sport is barely brighter.
“This was clearly our greatest staff soccer that we performed this 12 months,” head coach Mike McCarthy stated. “That was a hard-fought soccer sport to say the least.”
A Cowboys protection permitting 170.8 speeding yards per sport restricted Pittsburgh to 46. A Cowboys protection that had ceded third-down conversions on 49.5% of makes an attempt (fourth worst in league) restricted Pittsburgh to 38.5%. The Steelers remained scoreless till the final 2 minutes of halftime. Ben Roethlisberger’s 2 passing yards within the first quarter was the worst mark of his profession, per ESPN Stats and Data.
“Simply being relentless,” linebacker Leighton Vander Esch stated of the protection’s purpose. “Don’t be placing any of that lazy, ‘not operating to the ball’ stuff on movie. That’s actually what we’ve been specializing in Simply having good vitality and operating to the ball.”
The protection has now strung collectively two energetic performances. However not like the 23-9 loss in Philadelphia (solely 15 of these factors have been allowed by protection), the particular groups and offense made vital contributions in opposition to the Steelers as nicely. On particular groups, a trick-play cross from receiver Cedrick Wilson to defensive again C.J. Goodwin remodeled a punt return right into a 73-yard acquire. Operating again Rico Dowdle, who beforehand had three profession carries for 13 yards, juked a kickoff return into 64 yards. Defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford blocked a Pittsburgh extra-point try.
An offense that hadn’t scored a landing both of the final two video games—and three video games in the past, solely in rubbish time of the ultimate minutes of a blowout loss to the Cardinals—reached the top zone on a 20-yard cross from quarterback Garrett Gilbert to rookie receiver CeeDee Lamb within the second quarter. In whole, Dallas scored on 5 of its first seven possessions. The offense boasted its best efficiency since dropping quarterback Dak Prescott (ankle) in Week 5.
“It’s not simple for anybody on the offense to be going via 4 quarterbacks in the middle of 9 video games,” stated Gilbert, who accomplished 21 of 38 passes for 243 yards, a landing and an interception. “So it’s an actual testomony to these guys that they simply maintain their heads down and maintain working. I can’t say sufficient about all the blokes in that room.”
However late within the sport, the Cowboys’ regular efficiency unraveled. Gilbert threw his first interception three minutes into the fourth quarter, All-Professional security Minkah Fitzpatrick nabbing the ball in the midst of the top zone. On the ensuing collection, linebackers Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch drew penalties on consecutive fourth-quarter performs. What would have been a strip sack of Roethlisberger as an alternative prolonged Pittsburgh’s drive, which culminated in a area purpose.
On the Steelers’ subsequent drive after a Cowboys punt, Roethlisberger missed receiver Chase Claypool on third-and-10. Smith, nevertheless, was flagged once more—this time for a roughing-the-passer penalty. Lawrence was livid.
A robust displaying of black-and-gold Horrible Towels waved from round an AT&T Stadium crowd of 31,700 followers.
“The irritating half is that it wasn’t in our management,” Lawrence stated when requested about penalties. “I am not the one to complain however that was whole B.S. on that final name. So hopefully the NFL can take that under consideration and we get higher from it.
“That is very unacceptable, particularly in a detailed sport like that.”
Roethlisberger discovered tight finish Eric Ebron on a galloping 8-yard landing to take the 24-19 lead, and the Cowboys’ subsequent drive ended with a 17-yard sack of Gilbert. Dallas was gifted yet one more likelihood with 38 seconds left, however Gilbert missed Lamb “somewhat too far inside,” the quarterback described it, throughout the entrance line of the top zone.
“That’s the kind of factor you dream about, and that’s the kind of state of affairs you reside for as a quarterback,” Gilbert stated of the possibility to provide a game-winning drive. “I simply have to present him a greater ball.”
For now, Gilbert gave the Cowboys a greater likelihood to win than rookie Ben DiNucci had one week prior. The Cowboys anticipate Andy Dalton to return from concussion protocol and the reserve/COVID-19 listing after their bye, when Dallas will journey to Minnesota.
McCarthy lauded the staff’s “grit and grind” within the postgame locker room, McCarthy stated, gamers buoyed by a caliber of battle they haven’t displayed constantly every week of the season.
“Right now is a mirrored image on what we’re able to doing,” McCarthy stated. “We’re undoubtedly taking steps in the appropriate path the final two weeks so far as the understanding and velocity of what we are attempting to get accomplished. We’ve a bye week. We’ll spend time self-scouting all of it, each individually for the gamers and all three phases. We’ll get loaded up as a result of it’s time. We’ve acquired to get going.
“We have to get going and we have to begin stacking wins.”
Observe USA TODAY Sports activities’ Jori Epstein on Twitter @JoriEpstein