A 41-yard field goal by Rafael Septien with 3:42 elapsed in overtime tonight completed a 21-point comeback by the Dallas Cowboys for a 30-27 victory over the New Orleans Saints.
The Cowboys, who trailed, 27-6, scored 21 fourth-quarter points with reserve Danny White at quarterback.
In the overtime, Saints defensive back Johnnie Poe was called for pass interference on Tony Hill at the New Orleans 47. The 24-yard penalty was followed by a pass from White to Mike Renfro to the Saints 31. White scrambled to the Saints 24 to set up Septien's kick.
Dallas (5-3) gained a tie with the Washington Redskins and the St. Louis Cardinals for the lead in the NFC Eastern Division.
New Orleans (3-5) built a 17-6 halftime lead on a 36-yard pass from Richard Todd to Tyrone Young, a 62-yard run by Hokie Gajan and Morten Andersen's 49-yard field goal. Dallas settled for two field goals by Septien.
The Saints took the lead to 27-6 in the third period on a 50-yard Andersen field goal and linebacker Dennis Winston's 43-yard return of an interception thrown by Gary Hogeboom.
It was the fourth time this year that a Hogeboom turnover has been returned for a touchdown. He suffered a bruised right hand on the play and White took over.
Tony Dorsett scored on a three-yard run on the first play after Chuck McSwain blocked a New Orleans punt. That cut the lead to 27-13 to start the fourth quarter.
After a New Orleans punt, White completed seven passes on an 88-yard drive, climaxed by a 12-yard touchdown throw to Renfro with 3:59 to play in the game.
The Cowboys completed their comeback with 2:53 to play when Randy White forced a fumble by Saints quarterback Ken Stabler, who took command when Todd injured a knee. The ball came loose at the New Orleans three and defensive end Jim Jeffcoat recovered in the end zone for the tying touchdown.
The game's first touchdown was set up when Brian Hansen punted out of bounds inside Dallas' one-yard line and the Cowboys had to punt from the end zone, giving the Saints possession at the Dallas 39.
Two plays later, Todd passed to Young, who broke Ron Fellows' tackle and scored for a 7-3 lead 46 seconds into the second period.
Safety Michael Downs' interception set up Septien's second field goal, with 4:35 to play in the half.
Gajan's 62-yard touchdown, the longest of his career, put the Saints ahead, 14-6, with 2:54 remaining. Andersen kicked a 49-yard field goal with two seconds left.
Andersen's 50-yard field goal made it a 14-point lead with 11:35 left in the third quarter. Winston's interception return made it 27-6 with 9:21 left in the third quarter.