But he just couldn't stick with that line the way he stuck with the pass he intercepted and returned for the game-winning touchdown to give the Steelers a 10-3 record.
This win, in particular, meant plenty to Townsend.
"It does, especially to me, because I was a Cowboys fan growing up," he said. "And my dad and brothers were here today. We all were Cowboys fans growing up, and watched a lot of Cowboys-Steelers games in Batesville, Mississippi. It was just a lot of fun to have a part in winning this game tonight."
A part? Heck, Townsend won the game for an offense that, for the most part, refused to do it themselves. In the first half alone, the Steelers' defense forced three turnovers in Cowboys territory, stuffed a fourth-and-1 play, and the special teams forced a fourth turnover, but all the offense could muster that half were three points.
It was similar to the game last week in New England, except the Cowboys wouldn't collapse – until Dick LeBeau called a change-up to his three-deep zone defense.
"It was just a good call," Townsend said. "I was jumping the route; I was going to it. But it was the call that allowed us to read the quarterback and give us a chance to take a chance on the route. The call allowed me to jump that press. Plus, he overthrew it a bit, which helped us out a little."
The Steelers had just scored their first touchdown to tie the game at 13-13 late in the fourth quarter, when Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo dropped back and looked right for either Terrell Owens down the sideline or tight end Jason Witten on a curl-in. Witten slipped coming out of his break and Romo, under pressure from LaMarr Woodley, overthrew him. The pass hit Townsend in the chest and he returned it 25 yards for the touchdown with 1:40 to play.
Had Townsend missed it, Troy Polamalu was right behind him.
"I probably would've dropped it," Polamalu said.
Did Polamalu think Townsend would score?
"I didn't," Polamalu said. "I was actually hoping he'd pitch it back, but once I saw him dive for the end zone I was really happy."
Polamalu wasn't just happy for the touchdown and the win, he was happy for Townsend, a thought that reverberated throughout the locker room for the 11-year veteran who lost his starting job earlier in the season and is now being used only as the nickel back.
"Deshea always gives the pre-game speech for the DBs," said free safety Ryan Clark. "He likes to say that when one person makes a play, we all make a play -- play for your brother. One thing about this team: There's no ego; there's no selfishness. When one guy makes a play, we all make a play. When Deshea crossed that end zone, we all crossed that end zone."
"I'll do whatever for the team, no matter what my role is," Townsend said. "If it's out there giving water, I'll do it. That's just how this team is. Everybody wants to do their part to help our team win, and tonight it was my job to help the team win."