The 1982 NFL season was unlike any other season before. After the second week of the season all games stopped due to a strike. The strike lasted two months and would end up wiping seven games off the schedule. The Cowboys were coming off back to back NFC Championship game losses and they played the 1982 season looking to get to the next level.
With a 4-1 record the Cowboys traveled to Houston to take on the 1-4 Oilers on Monday Night Football. The Cowboys found themselves behind early when Cowboys cornerback Dennis Thurman fell as he tried to cover Oilers wide receiver Mike Renfro. Sitting at their own 46 yard line, Oilers quarterback Archie Manning connected with Renfro at the Cowboys 18 yard line when Thurman fell. The result was a 54 yard touchdown for the Oilers and an early 7-0 lead.
The Cowboys seemed to have no spark in the first quarter. But during the second quarter the offense would wake up with a weapon that some people said was the Cowboys third best wide receiver. Danny White led the Cowboys to the Oilers 21 yard line. Then on 3rd and 7 White scrambled to his right and lofted a pass to the right corner of the end zone. That is where Butch Johnson made a great catch as he was able to keep both feet in bounds. The game was now tied at 7-7.
Rafael Septien gave the Cowboys the lead 10-7 as he kicked a 22 yard field goal midway through the second quarter. Then Butch Johnson took the stage again with his second touchdown of the game.
Once again Danny White led the Cowboys down the field with plays that included a 22 yard pass to Johnson and a 43 yard pass to running back Timmy Newsome. The Cowboys found themselves at the Oilers 18 yard line when White saw Johnson and Tony Hill standing side by side in the end zone. White once again went to Johnson and the Cowboys took a 17-7 halftime lead. It was also the second time that Johnson was able to show off his new “California Quake” dance.
With the Cowboys offense waking up and scoring 17 points in the second quarter and the defense shutting down the Oilers after giving up an early score, the Cowboys also had some luck on their side.
Leading 17-7, the Cowboys were once again in Oilers territory during the third quarter. With Oilers defensive lineman Ted Washington hanging onto Danny White, White threw a bad pass that was intercepted by defensive end Malcolm Taylor and he returned it 84 yards for a touchdown. But the officials ruled that White was in the grasp of Washington and took the Oilers touchdown off the board. Three plays later Septien kicked his second field goal and the Cowboys were up 20-7.
More luck came the Cowboys way during the third quarter. Cowboys punt returner Ron Fellows fumbled a punt and the Oilers recovered on the Cowboys 34 yard line. The Oilers drove to the Cowboys seven yard line when rookie running back Gary Allen fumbled after Ed Jones knocked the ball loose. Safety Michael Downs scooped up the ball and raced 86 yards for the touchdown. The Cowboys took a 27-7 lead as the third quarter ended.
Danny White threw his third touchdown pass of the game as he connected with Timmy Newsome, who broke three tackles and raced 46 yards for the touchdown. Newsome had plenty of playing time due to Tony Dorsett leaving the game in the second quarter with a bruised lower back. With the Newsome touchdown, the Cowboys led the Oilers 34-7.
The Cowboys closed out the scoring for the night with a third Septien field goal from 53 yards out. The Cowboys beat the Oilers 37-7 and improved to 5-1 staying tied with the Redskins in the NFC.
Danny White completed 21 of 27 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. Timmy Newsome caught three passes for 92 yards and one touchdown. Butch Johnson had four receptions for 87 yards and two touchdowns.
The Cowboys defense held the Oilers offense to only 199 yards, which included only 39 yards rushing. They also recorded six sacks and recovered three fumbles.
The Cowboys would finish the 1982 season with a 6-3 record and finished two games behind the conference champion Redskins who they would also lose to in the NFC Championship game.
The box score can be seen here.