The Dallas Cowboys, outplayed the first half and in danger of losing their tie with the Philadelphia Eagles for first place in the NFC East, rallied behind Danny White's passing and Tony Dorsett's running to defeat the Buffalo Bills, 27-14, tonight.
Dallas raised its record to 8-2 while dropping Buffalo to 6-4 and 1 1/2 games behind AFC East leader Miami.
Dallas, trailing, 14-7, at halftime, struck for two touchdowns in the first 2:20 of the third period.
On the Cowboys' first play, White threw to Dorsett for a 73-yard touchdown. Dorsett caught the ball at the Buffalo 45, broke the tackle of linebacker Lucius Sanford and sped into the end zone.
Rookie Everson Walls then intercepted Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson and returned the ball 19 yards to the Buffalo 44 to set up a Dallas trick play for a touchdown. Dorsett took a handoff from White, flipped the ball back to him and the quarterback threw to Tony Hill, running 37 yards downfield and wide open at the goal line.
Linebacker D.D. Lewis then intercepted Ferguson to position the Cowboys for Rafael Septien's 47-yard field goal. A 31-yard field goal by Septien capped the third-period comeback for the Cowboys.
Buffalo went ahead, 7-0, on Ferguson's 17-yard pass to Jerry Butler.
White responded with a 12-yard scoring pass to tight end Doug Cosbie before the end of the first quarter, but the Bills led, 14-7, at halftime thanks to some trickery of their own. Halfback Joe Cribbs threw his first NFL touchdown pass, a nine-yarder to Curtis Brown, as the surprised Cowboys thought Cribbs was circling right end.
Dorsett gained 117 yards on 28 carries, surpassing the 1,000-yard mark for the fifth consecutive year, an NFL record for a player in his first five years in the league.
Buffalo held a 14-7 halftime advantage, with Dallas fortunate to be in the game. But the Cowboys got a break late in the half when Ferguson threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted by Michael Downs.
After passing for 224 yards in the first half, Ferguson could manage just 30 in the third quarter.