Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - DeShea Townsends 25-yard interception return with 1:40 left gave Pittsburgh two touchdowns in 24 seconds, after going nearly 58 minutes without finding the end zone, and the Steelers earned a 20-13 victory in a heavyweight defensive bout with the Dallas Cowboys from Heinz Field. Darrius Heyward-Bey Jersey
. Trailing 13-3 close to midway through the fourth quarter, Pittsburgh got a boost from Santonio Holmes on a 35-yard punt return to the Dallas 25. The Cowboys fifth sack of the game on Ben Roethlisberger on 3rd-and-2 set Jeff Reed up for a 41-yard boot, which glanced off the right upright and through for a 13-6 game with 7:15 left to play. Dallas was forced to punt, and the Steelers took the ball 67 yards in eight plays, with Roethlisberger converting a 4th-and-1 from the Dallas 23 on a quarterback sneak before tossing a six-yard TD to Heath Miller to tie the game at 13, leaving 2:04 on the clock. Two plays into the Cowboys ensuing drive, Tony Romo was intercepted by Townsend, who took it back for the score and a 20-13 Steelers lead, as Dallas now trailed with 1:40 left. Romo picked up 10 yards on a pass to Roy Williams to start the ensuing series, but four straight incompletions sealed the game for Pittsburgh (10-3), which ran out the final 51 seconds. "Anytime you win its big, no matter what the situation is," Townsend said when asked whether this was the biggest play of his career. "To this point, it was the biggest -- because it was the game to date, but it was a big play for us." The Steelers defense logged three interceptions, three sacks and forced a fumble in holding Dallas to 289 total yards of offense -- continuing their season-best winning streak to four games. Pittsburgh remained a game ahead of hard-charging Baltimore in the AFC North standings. The Ravens beat Washington, 24-10, later Sunday. The Steelers also improved their status in the race to earn one of the two first-round byes for the conference playoffs, as they moved two games up on the New York Jets, who lost to San Francisco Sunday. Next Sundays matchup could very well decide the division, as Pittsburgh takes to the road against Baltimore before traveling to Tennessee and hosting Cleveland to close out the season. Roethlisberger was 17-of-33 for 204 yards and the touchdown to Miller, who finished with three catches for 20 yards. Reed was 2-of-3 on field goal attempts. Romo hit on 19-of-36 attempts for 210 yards and a TD to Terrell Owens, who notched three grabs for 32 yards. Jason Witten caught six balls for 62 yards. Rookie running back Tashard Choice ran for 88 yards on 23 carries and made five receptions for 78 yards in making his first NFL start in place of Marion Barber, who did not make the trip to Pittsburgh due to a dislocated toe. "The team played a good football game tonight. We didnt win, but most teams dont come in here (Pittsburgh) and win," Romo said. "We put ourselves in a good position to win. If I would have done some things differently, we would have won this football game. I take complete blame for that. Ill go back to the drawing board. Ill try and fix it." Dallas (8-5) had won three straight games since Romo returned from a broken pinkie finger on his throwing hand that forced the star quarterback to sit out a trio of contests. The win streak vaulted the expected Super Bowl contenders back into the NFC postseason mix, but Sundays loss crushed the Cowboys attempt to gain ground in the race, specifically on the Atlanta Falcons. Dallas entered this weeks play tied with upstart Atlanta for the conferences final Wild Card spot, and the Falcons loss to New Orleans earlier Sunday presented a perfect opportunity for the taking. Despite the Philadelphia Eagles having gone into Giants Stadium for a 20-14 road win earlier Sunday, New York clinched the NFC East with Dallas loss. The loss also started a tough December stretch in which the club plays three of the NFLs premier defenses in consecutive weeks. The Cowboys next host division rival New York before Baltimores second-ranked unit pays a visit to Texas Stadium on December 20. Dallas will finish up the regular season with a visit to division rival Philadelphia on December 28. Offense was hard to come by in the first half with Pittsburgh managing just four total first downs over two quarters to Dallas seven. Romo was intercepted on the first series of the game and the Steelers started their first possession from the Dallas 46. They gained the 27 before Reeds 45-yard attempt sailed wide right. Dallas came back to move the ball 32 yards on its next turn but was stopped on 4th-and-1 from the Steelers 33. The Cowboys had another chance for points after Roethlisberger fumbled at his own 46 with a little over a minute left in the first. However, five plays later a 4th-and-2 pass to Owens fell incomplete. The teams traded turnovers midway through the second as both signal-callers coughed up the pigskin close to midfield but, again, the defense forced quick, unsuccessful series. Reed was able to get the Steelers on the board first, though, with a 24-yard field goal with 2:40 left before the break. Pittsburgh pinned the Cowboys at their own eight-yard-line with a punt and Romo proceeded to throw the second of his three picks on the first ensuing play from scrimmage. Dallas went no huddle and Romo was back in the shotgun as the Cowboys quickly moved 49 yards, allowing Nick Folk to drill a 44-yard field goal with the clock showing no time left. Dallas came out for the second half and broke the 3-3 deadlock on its first possession. Choice went off right guard for a 22-yard gain on 3rd-and-3 form the Dallas 40 -- and after gaining another first down -- Romo scrambled and found Owens in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard score. Another Pittsburgh punt led to a 33-yard boot from Folk and Dallas took a 13-3 lead into the final quarter. Game Notes The Cowboys hold a 14-13 advantage in the regular season series, but had a three-game winning streak in the series snapped with a 24-20 home victory when the teams last met, in 2004..Pittsburgh came into the game leading the NFL in total defense (238.0 ypg), rushing defense (71.2 ypg) and passing defense (166.8 ypg)..The Steelers have also yielded the fewest points (183), produced a league-high 45 sacks, and continued their streak of holding the opposition to under 300 total yards in every game this year..Dallas also did its part on defense, getting to Roethlisberger for five sacks and forcing a fumble from the QB..Pittsburghs Nate Washington had four receptions for 58 yards while Willie Parker led the Steelers ground game with a measly 25 yards. Blaine Gabbert Jersey
. Up 7-2 on China after six ends of his round-robin finale, the veteran skip gestured for his son Scott -- the teams alternate -- to join them on the ice and make his world championship debut. Ray Lewis Jersey
. Ray Allen dropped 22 points and Paul Pierce 17 in playing second fiddle to the second-year pro forward, who had a season-high 23 points in a loss to Miami on Wednesday. Rajon Rondo returned from a two-game absence due to a sprained right ankle and logged eight rebounds, eight assists and four points in 29 minutes for Boston, which hadnt lost consecutive games since a season-long four-game skid from January 4-9. Torrey Smith Jersey
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. Joseph was San Antonio top draft pick last year, but the 20-year-old point guard has a lot of learning to do before he gets a regular shift with the Spurs.The Swift Current Broncos are off to a good start in their quest for a second straight upset. Levi Nelson scored the game-winner with 11:23 left in regulation as the seventh-ranked Broncos rallied for a 3-2 win over the top-ranked Calgary Hitmen in Game 1 of their WHL Eastern Conference semifinal series. Swift Current beat second-ranked Regina 4-2 in the first round. The win gives the seventh-seeded Broncos a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-seven series against the conference-champion Hitmen. Game 2 will also be in Swift Current before the series switches to Calgary for Games 3, 4 and 5. Nelson scored twice to collect his fourth and fifth goals of the post-season, while the Broncos also had a goal from Cody Eakin. Karl Alzner scored twice in the opening period to give Calgary a 2-0 lead. It was the Hitmens first road playoff loss of the post-season after eliminating the Moose Jaw Warriors in six games in the opening round. Elsewhere in the WHL it was: Kootenay 3 Lethbridge 2 ; Vancouver 4 Spokane 1; and Seattle 7 Tri-City 1. At Swift Current, Sask., Swift Current netminder Travis Yonkman earned hiss fifth victory of the playoffs by stopping 22 shots. Joe Flacco Jersey
. . Calgary goaltender Dan Spence yielded three goals on 31 shots, and he was pulled for the final 1:05 in favour of an extra attacker. Calgary finished the game 1-for-2 with the man advantage, while Swift Current scored once in five power-play chances. Ice 3 Hurricanes 2 At Lethbridge, Alta., Ben Maxwell scored the game winner with 6:18 left in regulation as Kootenay stormed back with three third-period goals to stun the Hurricanes. Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinal goes Saturday night in Lethbridge. Giants 4 Chiefs 1 At Spokane, Wash., Tyson Sexsmith stopped 30 shots and Michal Repik finished with a goal and an assist as Vancouver defeated the Chiefs. The Giants lead the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinal series 1-0, with Game 2 set to take place Sunday night in Spokane. Thunderbirds 7 Americans 1 At Kennewick, Wash., Ian McKenzie scored three times and Riku Helenius made 29 saves as Seattle embarrassed the rusty Americans. Game 2 of the Westeern Conference semifinal is Saturday in Kennewick. ' ' '