You already knew that Ezekiel Elliott is the front-runner for the Offensive Rookie of the Year. With 209 total yards and three touchdowns today, Elliott showed why he may belong in the MVP discussion.
The Cowboys’ star running back found the endzone twice in the fourth quarter, out-dueling Le’Veon Bell as he led Dallas to an 8-1 record. Elliott had a career high with 95 yards receiving, most of which came on a single 83-yard sprint for a first-quarter score.
The lead changed seven times as the Cowboys and Steelers traded hits and misses all day. The Steelers will look back on several failed two-point conversions as the potential cause of their loss. Dallas overcame an early Dak Prescott fumble and some bad penalties to stay in the game and give Elliott a chance to carry them home.
- Playing the day after his father died, Dez Bryant had a big game. Dez brought in six catches for 116 yards, with none bigger than a 50-touchdown strike. Dez went away from his usual “Throw up the X” celebration and pointed to the sky, clearly emotional as teammates rallied around him.
- The Steelers were clearly focused on attacking rookie cornerback Anthony Brown today. The sixth-rounder did about as well as you could ask him to against the best WR in the game, but Antonio Brown still had a big day with 154 yards and a touchdown on 14 catches. The number is a little inflated by the Steelers’ final drive, but Browns was still dominant throughout the game.
- DeMarcus Lawrence got his first sack of 2016 and blew up a running play in the backfield. It was the first game where he really looked like he was playing fully healthy, and the results were evident.
- Byron Jones just can’t seal the deal on turnover opportunities. After dropping a potential interception last week, he had an easy fumble recovery today that he tried to scoop up and bobbled out of bounds. The second-year safety is a great player, but he’s still waiting on his first turnover this year.
- Dan Bailey went 3-for 3, including a 53-yarder, to help the winning effort. If not for Elliott’s winning touchdown run, he was in great position to win the game himself.
- Lucky Whitehead broke loose for a 39-yard punt return to set the Cowboys up near midfield, trailing 18-16. He was rewarded with Dez Bryant’s touchdown catch.