The Steelers took the ball to start the game, and it initially appeared that Emmanuel Sanders, whose recent fumble problems have been notorious, might have another one, but that was overturned on replay. Nonetheless, the Steelers didn't manage to score. (Special-teams man DeMarcus Van Dyke was injured on the punt; his return is doubtful.)
The Cowboys marched upfield on their first drive, and were finally stopped thanks in part to a challenge call by Mike Tomlin, who got Tony Romo's completion to Miles Austin reversed when it became clear that Austin didn't get both feet in. Dallas settled for a 50-yard field goal by Dan Bailey.
The Steelers were forced to punt in their next possession. When the Cowboys got the ball back, they charged downfield yet again, exploiting the Steelers' battered secondary (and particularly reserve cornerback Josh Victorian) by throwing to Austin over and over. (Austin finished the quarter with four catches for 56 yards.) But the drive ended abruptly when James Harrison forced a fumble by DeMarco Murray in the red zone. Overall, the Steelers finished the quarter down only three, but it looked like it might be a long day, especially for their defense.