As time was running out, Danny White decided he’d take his time.
With 2:25 left in a tie game Sunday, he drove the Dallas Cowboys 75 yards in five plays, tossing a one-yard touchdown pass to Fred Cornwell for a 17-10 win over the Houston Oilers.
“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 took over on its 25 after a Houston punt. Tony Dorsett, who rushed for 159 yards in 23 carries, broke for a 16-yard gain, and White lofted a 35-yard pass to James Jones to put the ball at the Houston 32.
Dorsett then went 31 yards before being tackled on the one. After Jones was stopped for no gain, White faked to Jones and lobbed a pass to Cornwell, who was all alone in the left corner of the end zone.
Cornwell dropped to his knees and made the catch at 1:47, and Rafael Septien, who missed four field goals in five tries, kicked the extra point to make it 17-10.
White completed 16 of 32 passes for 199 yards and was not intercepted. His seven-yard touchdown pass to Timmy Newsome with seven seconds left in the first quarter gave Dallas a 7-0 halftime lead. Septien’s 35-yard field goal in the third quarter made it 10-0.
The Oilers rallied in the third quarter on Warren Moon’s 57-yard touchdown bomb to Drew Hill, and Tony Zendejas tied it with a 33-yard field goal with 2:42 to go in the period.
“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, which tied an NFL record by sacking Moon 12 times for 82 yards, raised its record to 3-1 while Houston fell to 1-3.
Moon finished with 11 completions in 26 attempts for 215 yards. But, in addition to losing 82 yards on sacks, he was intercepted four times, twice by Ron Fellows. Randy White and Victor Scott each had two sacks.
“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.”
Dallas’ comeback helped ease Septien’s misery after he missed field-goal attempts of 47, 33, 36 and 36 yards, including two that hit the uprights, the last coming with 13:20 left in the game.
“I hope this is something that never happens again,” he said. “Let’s erase it. I hope I can forget it and start over again next week.”
Houston’s Zendejas didn’t do much better. He missed a 37-yarder with 6:04 left that would have given the Oilers a 13-10 lead.