|Tony Romo completed 21 of 34 passes for 307 yards and a TD as the Cowboys improved to 6-2.
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Carter, Steelers pick off Broncos
DENVER - Rarely has playing it safe paid off so well for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Tyrone Carter started in place of safety Ryan Clark as a precaution last night and made the big play that sparked the Steelers to their fifth straight win, taking the first of his two interceptions 48 yards for a touchdown in Pittsburgh’s 28-10 triumph over the Denver Broncos.
Clark nearly died following a game in Denver two years ago because of a rare blood disorder that is aggravated by playing in high altitude, so Steelers coach Mike Tomlin decided to hold him out of the game.
He said he didn’t want to risk Clark’s health or burden his teammates and family members with worry.
“Ryan likes to play. He’s probably hacked off at me that I didn’t play him,’’ Tomlin said. “But he will get over it.’’
He already is, apparently.
“My goal for this trip was to go back with the team on the plane,’’ Clark said. “Last time I came out, I didn’t make it back with them.’’
Carter capped his night with his second interception with 15 seconds left, and Clark, dressed in charcoal sweats and a smile on the sideline, jumped up and down in celebration.
Hines Ward caught two short touchdown passes from Ben Roethlisberger, including one in which he hauled in a pass in the flat and hurdled cornerback Champ Bailey on his way into the end zone, a final indignity for Denver that capped the scoring with 1:22 remaining and emptied the stadium.
Rashard Mendenhall rumbled over the Broncos for 155 yards on 22 carries as the Steelers (6-2) handed Denver its second straight loss after the Broncos opened the season 6-0 under rookie coach Josh McDaniels.
Carter’s first interception return gave Pittsburgh a 7-3 halftime lead even though the Steelers had generated just three first downs and were outgained, 183-54, in the first half.
An ecstatic Clark was among the first players to swarm Carter, the first defender to pick off a Kyle Orton pass all season.
With the Steelers clinging to a 14-10 lead in the fourth quarter, safety Troy Polamalu snared another Orton pass, this one at the Broncos 25-yard line, leading to Roethlisberger’s 25-yard TD toss to rookie Mike Wallace.
Denver scored on its opening drive for the first time this season. But the Broncos had to settle for Matt Prater’s 40-yard field goal after cornerback William Gay broke up a pass at the 10 to Eddie Royal, who had three receptions for 47 yards on the 56-yard drive.
Carter, Polamalu’s fill-in for a month when Polamalu had an injured knee earlier this season, had an easy pickoff when rookie running back Knowshon Moreno, Orton’s target, ran into an official as Orton was releasing the short pass over the middle, and Carter raced into the end zone untouched for a 7-3 lead.
Cornerback Ty Law, 35, made his debut for Denver two days after signing with the Broncos. He was signed to cover slot receivers after Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco had a field day against the Broncos’ secondary last week.