Carr pick sends Cowboys past Steelers in OT, 27-24

Brandon Carr figured Ben Roethlisberger was throwing his way.
Thousands of Terrible Towel-waving Pittsburgh fans at Cowboys
Stadium weren’t happy with the Dallas cornerback’s reaction.

Carr intercepted a pass from Roethlisberger on the second play
of overtime and returned it 36 yards to the 1, setting up Dan
Bailey’s 21-yard field goal that gave the Cowboys a 27-24 win over
the Steelers on Sunday.

Bailey’s kick – 1:24 into OT – won a game for the second
straight week since Dallas practice squad linebacker Jerry Brown
was killed in a one-car accident that led to manslaughter charges
against teammate Josh Brent.

The Cowboys (8-6) have won five of six and pulled even with the
New York Giants and Washington atop the NFC East with two games
remaining.

Carr, who said he was anticipating Roethlisberger’s throw to
Mike Wallace because Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley was
his coach in Kansas City, made a diving catch and jumped up along
the Pittsburgh sideline. Legions of black-and-gold clad fans on
that side of the stadium watched in silence as Carr came within
inches of ending the game himself.

”That was like a buzzer-beater,” Dallas defensive end Marcus
Spears said. ”That guy studies the game and understands it. There
is no doubt in my mind that he knew that was coming.”

The winning kick came after Tony Romo, who broke the 25,000-yard
passing milestone earlier in the game, took a knee to put Bailey in
better position. Bailey beat Cincinnati 20-19 last week with a
40-yarder as time expired, just a day after the accident that
killed Brown.

Brown’s death came a week after Kansas City Chiefs linebacker
Jovan Belcher, Carr’s former teammate, fatally shot his girlfriend
before driving to Arrowhead Stadium and committing suicide in front
of his coach and general manager.

The Cowboys draped Brown’s No. 53 jersey over the bench – just
as they did in Cincinnati a week ago – and had a helmet decal with
his number. Brent, accused of driving drunk in the fatal accident,
watched from the sideline.

”We have a lot of heavy hearts right now,” Carr said.
”Fifty-three was on the sideline today, so after the interception,
that’s where the game ball went.”

The Steelers (7-7) lost for the fourth time in five games and
trail AFC North rival Cincinnati by a game for the second wild card
spot. They host the Bengals next week.

Roethlisberger is 0-2 since returning from a three-game absence
with shoulder and rib injuries, and he lost to the Cowboys for the
first time in three starts. It was Pittsburgh’s first trip to
Cowboys Stadium since losing to Green Bay in the Super Bowl two
years ago.

”There won’t be any quit from us, especially from me,”
Roethlisberger said. ”This one is going to sting real bad. It will
hopefully make me and make us better.”

The defining play came from a Dallas defense playing without six
injured starters, the latest being Carr’s playing partner on the
other side, first-round pick Morris Claiborne. The rookie was
sidelined after sustaining a concussion against the Bengals.

”I really can’t explain it. It’s something destined about this
team,” defensive end Jason Hatcher said. ”You look back there and
you don’t know nobody back there behind you.”

The score was tied 24-all in the final two minutes of
regulation. Pittsburgh quickly moved to its 46 after a completion
by Roethlisberger and a roughing-the-passer penalty against
DeMarcus Ware.

But Sean Lissemore and Anthony Spencer sacked Roethlisberger on
consecutive plays to give the Cowboys the ball back.

”Everyone has seen Ben do that in the fourth quarter multiple
times,” Spears said. ”We knew we had to go back there and affect
him in the pocket and at least try to get in his way. Fortunately,
those turned into some sacks for us.”

The Cowboys couldn’t do anything in the final minute. Their
drive stalled at the Steelers’ 43, and Bailey lined up for a
61-yard field goal attempt with 32 seconds left. But Dallas called
timeout and punted instead. Roethlisberger took a knee, sending the
game to overtime.

Roethlisberger was sacked four times and finished 24 of 40 for
339 yards with two touchdowns and an interception.

”We’re still in the same situation we started in before we
came,” said Wallace, who had 95 yards receiving, including a
60-yarder to set up a touchdown. ”We know we win these last two
games, we’re still in the tournament.”

Earlier in the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh was driving for a
go-ahead score when Ware and Spencer sacked Roethlisberger at the
Dallas 40, forcing a punt with three minutes left. The Cowboys
opted to punt at the two-minute warning after a third-down pass to
Dwayne Harris was less than a yard short of the first down.

Roethlisberger put the Steelers ahead 24-17 with a 7-yard
scoring pass to Antonio Brown, and Brown was about to put
Pittsburgh in control with a long punt return.

But Brown fumbled when Victor Butler reached out and knocked the
ball loose at the end of a 22-yard return. DeMarco Murray, who had
81 yards on 14 carries, then scored on a 3-yard run.

”There was about five or six guys, all in black and yellow,”
Butler said. ”And I see the punter and me and the long snapper and
I figure I am probably the best tackler out of the three. It was
time to make a play.”

Dez Bryant extended his touchdown streak to six games while
playing with a broken left index finger, a 24-yard score that put
Romo over 25,000 yards for his career and gave Dallas a 10-0
lead.

Roethlisberger pulled the Steelers even before halftime. He
stepped away from pressure and used a couple of pump fakes to keep
pass rushers away before finding Heath Miller wide open along the
sideline on a 30-yard score.

NOTES: The first Dallas touchdown was the first scoring
connection from Romo to TE Jason Witten this season. … Steelers
CB DeMarcus Van Dyke injured a shoulder on Pittsburgh’s first punt
less than two minutes into the game and didn’t return. … Dallas
rookie TE James Hanna had two career catches for two key grabs on
the Cowboys’ first touchdown drive. … The Grambling State band
spelled out ”JB” in honor of Brown at halftime. … The loss
snapped Pittsburgh’s three-game winning streak in overtime. Dallas
is 2-0 in OT at Cowboys Stadium after beating Cleveland last month.
… Attendance was 95,595, a season high at Cowboys Stadium.

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