The Pittsburgh Steelers were looking for a knockout punch against Dallas and thought they had one in a fake spike-turned touchdown pass from Ben Roethlisberger late in the fourth quarter.
Roethlisberger made the call to try the fake spike and it worked.
With 42 second left in the game on first-and-10 at the Cowboys’ 15, the Steelers went with no huddle and Roethlisberger faked a spike motion then threw to Antonio Brown, who beat backup cornerback Leon McFadden, to give the Steelers a 30-29 lead.
“You know Big Ben has some tricks up his sleeve, so when I was playing man coverage I knew he wasn’t just going to spike it and let it go like that,” Cowboys safety Byron Jones said. “It was a ball play. (McFadden) 23 played good defense and they made a good throw and a good catch. He played the ball all the way throughout, he didn’t relax.”
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Before the fake spike, the Steelers had easily covered 60 yards in four plays on a drive that began with 1:55 left in the game.
“They were reeling. We were moving them and wanted to take a shot at them,” Roethlisberger said.
However, Ezekiel Elliott scored on a 32-yard run with 9 seconds left to give the Cowboys a 35-30 win.
“I guess I left them too much time,” Roethlisberger said.
Roethlisberg said he and Brown practice the move all the time in practice.
“Ben made a great call. We knew in that situation that they were expecting us to spike the ball,” Brown said. “Ben shot me a signal and we were able to execute in that situation.
“It was all Ben. We practice that situation.”
Not everyone was on board with the call.
“I called it. (Offensive coordinator) Todd (Haley) was in my head yelling ‘don’t waste a down.’ But I knew what we were doing so I’m glad it worked,” Roethlisberger said.
Craig Meyer contributed to this report