The Pittsburgh Steelers lost to the Dallas Cowboys 27-24 in overtime on Sunday to drop their record to 7-7 on the season. Below are the players that I thought had winning and losing performances in the game. Feel free to add your own in the comments.
Heath Miller – It is too bad that the Steelers couldn\’t have gotten the ball to Miller 10 more times in the game as the tight end would have likely caught every one of them. Miller was one of the few bright spots for the Steelers with his 7 catches good for 92 yards that included a 30 yard touchdown reception that tied the game at 10 just before halftime. Miller, as you would expect, was once again the model of consistency on Sunday. He now has 405 career regular season catches which now means that he joins Hines Ward (1,000) and John Stallworth (537) as the only Steelers players to reach 400 career receptions. His touchdown catch was the 8th of the season which is a new single-season career high for him.
James Harrison – Harrison forced a DeMarco Murray fumble on the Steelers own 7 yard-line which ended up being recovered by Brett Keisel. Harrison also provided a stop on 3rd down and 1 late in the 3rd quarter when he sniffed out a bootleg by Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo. He ended with game with only 4 tackles, but always seemed to be around the ball. It was far from a dominant performance by Harrison in the pass rushing category, but he was one of the few bright spots on the defensive side of the ball.
Jerricho Cotchery – Cotchery only had 2 catches in the game, but they were big ones. He was also the only Steelers wide receiver that seemed to be able to hold onto the ball as well. The Steelers veteran moved the chains on 3rd down on the first scoring possession and he skied high to snag a Ben Roethlisberger pass early in the 4th quarter for an explosive play which ultimately led to a touchdown that put them ahead in the game.
Isaac Redman – Redman only carried the ball 3 times in the game but those carries were good for 4, 14, and 22 yards. He also chipped in 14 yards on 1 reception in addition, and despite suffering what looked like an ankle injury that might keep him sidelined, he wrapped it up and got back into the game. 44 yards on 4 touches is certainly worthy of being called a winner.
Antonio Brown – Brown registered at least one drop in the game and his fumble during on 22-yard punt return after the Steelers defense had a gotten a fourth quarter stop led to the Cowboys tying the game. Brown also chose not to catch a short bouncing punt with 2:00 minutes left in regulation that wound up costing the offense 15 extra yards. If that was not enough, Brown ran out of bounds after a 3rd down catch well short of the chains with 1:02 remaining in the game that allowed the Cowboys to save a timeout.
Josh Victorian – Victorian was targeted early and often by Romo and he allowed Cowboys wide receiver Miles Austin several uncontested catches in the game. Victorian often times was opening up too quickly which allowed Austin easy catches underneath. Steelers cornerbacks are generally regarded as good tackles, but Victorian found himself either whiffing completely or only leading with his shoulder which resulted in a lot of yards after first contact.
LaMarr Woodley – Woodley failed to make a dent in Cowboys right tackle Doug Free, who is one of the worst starting tackles currently in the league. Sore ankle and all, that is inexcusable. Woodley also failed to provide good backside support on at least two runs that I observed in the game. He recorded both of his tackles on the Cowboys opening possession and was never heard from again.
Robert Golden – If there was one play and one play only that resulted in Golden being listed here it was the touchdown pass from Romo to tight end Jason Witten. On that play Golden barely moved as he was frozen looking into the backfield instead of providing the necessary help over the top as he was the deep safety on the play.