Danny White threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Fred Cornwell with 1:47 to play today to give the Dallas Cowboys a 17-10 NFL victory over the Houston Oilers.
That 75-yard touchdown drive began with 2:14 to go, after a Houston punt. Tony Dorsett (23 carries, 159 yards) broke for a 16-yard gain, then White threw a 35-yard pass to James Jones to the Houston 32. Dorsett took an inside handoff and cut to the outside before being brought down at the one. After Jones was stopped for no gain, White faked to Jones and lobbed a pass to Cornwell in the end zone. Cornwell dropped to his knees and made the game-winning catch.
"One of my faults for years was trying to make things happen in a hurry, to make the big play," White said. "On our last drive, I realized we had plenty of time and decided to relax, be patient, and just run the offense."
"Dallas' offense is like a time bomb," Houston Coach Hugh Campbell said. "It can explode at any second. Even against Detroit, they had 500 yards and they lost (26-21). We just didn't contain them on the last drive. We let them get outside and they hurt us."
Dallas (3-1), which tied an NFL record by sacking Houston quarterback Warren Moon 12 times for 82 yards, intercepted four passes. Randy White and Victor Scott each had two sacks and Ron Fellows had two interceptions. Dennis Thurman and Bill Bates also had interceptions.
"Their defense takes a lot of chances and four-fifths of them seemed to pay off today," Oilers offensive tackle Harvey Salem said. "Yes, 12 sacks (is) a nightmare."
Dallas took a 7-0 lead on White's seven-yard touchdown pass to Tim Newsome with seven seconds left in the first quarter. Dallas dominated the half, sacking Moon seven times and intercepting him three times, but the Cowboys failed to score again as Rafael Septien missed field goal attempts of 47, 33 and 36 yards.
For the game, Septien missed four field goal attempts, including two that hit the uprights.
After the second-half kickoff, Dallas drove 60 yards in seven plays. Septien hit a 35-yard field goal 4:14 into the period, giving Dallas a 10-0 lead.
The Oilers (1-3) took the subsequent kickoff on their 24 and moved to their 43 in six plays. On third and four, Moon passed over the middle to Drew Hill, who broke to the sideline and ran for a 57-yard score. Tony Zendejas added the extra point at 7:40 to cut Dallas' lead to 10-7.
Late in the third period, Zendejas tied with a 33-yard field goal. But Zendejas missed a 37-yarder with 6:04 remaining that would have given the Oilers a 13-10 lead.
White completed 16 of 32 passes for 199 yards. He was not intercepted.
"This isn't the kind of team we had in 1981 and '82," White said. "That team depended on its offense. Now it's just the opposite. It's frustrating to see just 17 points on the scoreboard. We've got to rebuild our offense."
White's frustration was minor, however, compared to Moon's. Moon (11 of 26, 215 yards) spent much of his afternoon running from the Cowboys' rush.
"You get more worried about where the rush is coming from and you lose your rhythm," Moon said. "The pressure certainly did bother me today. I can't say it didn't."