With the Cowboys leading 20-17 with 2 minutes, 36 seconds to go, the ball was knocked out of the hand of quarterback Vinny Testaverde by running back Richie Anderson, who was trying to block blitzing linebacker James Farrior. The Steelers recovered the ball and scored the game-winning touchdown five plays later.
Anderson, the team's offensive captain, didn't talk after the game Sunday. He declined to elaborate on the play Monday, saying, "I don't know what happened. I haven't watched the film to see what happened. I am just not in a good mood to talk about this right now."
According to Parcells and Testaverde, it was just one of the plays where things just went right for the Steelers. The Cowboys knew they were blitzing, had the protection in place and a wide-open Keyshawn Johnson waiting to burn to Steelers defense.
"It was a middle cross blitz," Parcells said. "They had done it before in the game. The play was to our left. Richie had to step up and try to come across to get the guy coming around. Vinny in his effort to get rid of the ball, shortened his drop just a little bit. And Richie kind of bumped into the ball as Vinny was getting ready to pass. It's one of those things. It's unbelievable that that could happen."
Parcells vehemently defended his fourth-quarter play-calling against the Steelers.
The plays in question included a decision on second down to run a reverse to receiver Terry Glenn, losing three yards, and the ill-fated pass attempt on third down that resulted in the fumble.
Parcells was asked why he just didn't run the ball, punt it deep and force Steelers rookie quarterback Ben Roethlisberger to drive the length of the field without any timeouts.
Parcells said the third-down play was about being aggressive and trying to win, not about a lack of confidence in his defense.
"Listen, I don't even think twice about that. I feel like what we needed to try to do was make one play to win the game," Parcells said. "Had I not done that I probably couldn't have lived with it. Your job is to try to give your team a chance to win the game. I'm not trying to prolong the game. I'm trying to win it right here."
As for the reverse, Parcells bristled to the media, "That play should be a touchdown. We got two guys blocking the guy that makes the tackle. Listen, I wouldn't be talking about these plays here if I were you. It didn't work out. But I don't look back anymore."
Anderson Still Reeling
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