ARLINGTON, Texas – Ben Roethlisberger limped around the backfield directing his receivers this way and that, occasionally reaching for a left knee injured during the second-quarter drive while completing every pass and leading the Steelers to their first points.
The limp was gone as the 38-year-old engineered a fourth-quarter comeback that kept Pittsburgh as the NFL's only unbeaten team.
Roethlisberger threw all three of his touchdown passes after shrugging off the injury, and the Steelers improved to 8-0 for the first time in the storied franchise's history, avoiding what might have been the biggest upset of this NFL season in a 24-19 victory over the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.
“We’re humbled and honored to be in that group,” coach Mike Tomlin said. “It’s not without its trials today obviously. Some of it was created by us. We can’t keep having these conversations every week because one of these weeks we’ll be doing it with an ‘L’ if we’re not careful.”
Garrett Gilbert was the fourth different starting quarterback in five games for the Cowboys (2-7), who were the biggest underdogs they've been at home in at least 31 years.
While throwing a touchdown in his first career start six years after he was drafted and bringing some life to an offense that hadn't reached the end zone in two games, Gilbert couldn't stop a losing streak now at four games. Those are the four games Dallas has been without star Dak Prescott, out for the season with a broken ankle.
“I don’t know what I expected going into the first one,” said Gilbert, a former Texas quarterback who finished his college career at nearby SMU. “It was exciting to get out there and play and get to lead those guys.”
The Steelers erased a 10-point deficit in the fourth quarter with three scoring drives, the last two aided by Dallas penalties that kept drives alive. The go-ahead score with 2:14 remaining was an 8-yarder TD toss to Eric Ebron, who hurdled Saivion Smith at the goal line.