Roethlisberger first rookie QB 4-0 since '79

IRVING, Texas (AP) -- The Dallas Cowboys spent a week comparing
Steelers rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to a young Dan

How about some Terry Bradshaw to go with it?

Roethlisberger completed 21 of 25 passes and two touchdowns,
completing nine straight throws on the Steelers' last two scoring
drives Sunday and 11 in one stretch, leading Pittsburgh to a 24-20
comeback win over the Cowboys.

Cowboys coach Bill Parcells had warned his team about how good
Roethlisberger could be. It was Parcells who compared him to

"He can flat-out play," said Steelers receiver Plaxico
Burress. "I think Parcells was right."

Roethlisberger is the first rookie quarterback to go 4-0 since
Phil Simms on the 1979 New York Giants. He also became the first
Pittsburgh quarterback to win in Dallas since Bradshaw in 1982.

"He's got great poise," Parcells said. "I think he's going to
be outstanding. I haven't changed my mind about that."

And while a rookie led the way, it was a timely Dallas fumble
and a short TD from a Steelers old-timer that provided Pittsburgh
(5-1) with the winning points.

The Cowboys (2-3) had the ball on the Steelers 47 and facing
third down with a 20-17 lead with under 3 minutes left.

When Testaverde dropped back to pass, James Farrior, who had two
sacks and caused two other fumbles, crashed through the line to
knock the ball loose again. Kimo von Oelhoffen scooped it up and
ran to the Dallas 24 to set up the winning drive.

The Steelers drove to the 2 and Jerome Bettis rumbled in for the
final touchdown in the last minute.

"We made a mistake and it cost us bigtime," Parcells said.

The Cowboys (2-3) had one last chance to win with some
razzle-dazzle. Dallas covered 30 yards on a pass and lateral that
moved the ball to the Pittsburgh 30 with 1 second left. But
Testaverde's final throw into the end zone fell incomplete.

"That one big mistake at the end cost us," said Testaverde,
who was 23-of-36 for 284 yards. "If we hold onto the ball, the
worst case we punt and they have to go 80 yards for either a
touchdown or a field goal to tie."

Farrior was grateful.

"We had a little present today," Farrior said. "But we'll
take it and we appreciate it."

The Steelers have won four in a row. And it will be
Roethlisberger, the cool rookie who stood in the pocket and made
some tough throws against a rugged pass rush, who will be credited
with guiding them to this one.

"I was trying not to get hurt," said Roethlisberger, who was
sacked three times but avoided several others. "I was able to make
some people miss and luckily I have the best receivers in the

Roethlisberger was sharp at the outset. After Richie Anderson
capped the Cowboys' first drive with a 21-yard TD run, the Steelers
marched downfield to tie it on Roethlisberger's 5-yard pass to

In that one play, Roethlisberger showed more mobility than
Marino ever did, scrambling out of the pocket to his right and
slinging the ball to Burress an instant before Marcellus Wiley
tackled him from behind.

The play excited the many Steelers fans sprinkled throughout
Texas Stadium who waved their signature "Terrible Towels" with
every first down.

"For a minute there I thought we were in Pittsburgh," said
Cowboys linebacker Dexter Coakley. "It felt like it was a home
game for them."

The Cowboys led 13-10 in the third period when Testaverde
connected with Keyshawn Johnson on a 22-yard TD. But the Steelers
made it 20-17 on Roethlisberger's TD pass to Jerame Tuman when he
stood flat-footed in the pocket and rifled the ball to the back of
the end zone.

"There was no panic," said Hines Ward, who led the Steelers
with nine catches. "He showed a lot of poise and relied on the
veteran guys around him."

The Cowboys had their chance to close it out before the final
fumble. But the Steelers weren't going to let Testaverde have a
free shot at a first down.

"We had to blitz," said Steelers coach Bill Cowher. "We
couldn't let Vinny just sit back there and get into a rhythm. We
had to find a way to disrupt him."

Notes: The Steelers got the win, but nose tackle Casey Hampton
and cornerback Chad Scott both suffered right knee injuries and
Cowher said "It's not good news. Both could be gone for the
year." Cowher said the team would wait for further tests Monday.
... Johnson's third-quarter TD was the 50th of his career ....
Bettis was averaging only 1.8 yards per carry coming in, but
already has seven TDs.