By Julian Linden
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York Jets scored with 16 seconds left in overtime to beat the Cleveland Browns 26-20 on Sunday and enhance their championship credentials in one of the most unpredictable NFL seasons in years.
The Jets (7-2) were pushed to the brink of defeat for the second straight week but found a way to win on a day when the New York Giants suffered a shock loss to the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills celebrated their first win of the season.
The San Francisco 49ers (2-6) also enjoyed a rare victory with a 23-20 win over their divisional leaders St. Louis (4-4) while the Minnesota Vikings suffered their sixth loss of the season and are in danger of missing the playoffs.
Mark Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes with a 37-yard touchdown pass to give the Jets a second overtime win away from home in as many weeks.
Cleveland, coming off wins over the New England Patriots and Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints, scored a touchdown with 44 seconds remaining to force overtime before the Jets finally broke their resistance.
"The Browns were tough and that was one heck of a football game," Jets coach Rex Ryan said. "We're far from perfect, there's no question about it, but we're 7-2 and we'll take it."
Fred Jackson had two touchdowns and the Bills (1-8) held on to secure a 14-12 win over a struggling Detroit Lions (2-7) team that claimed an unwanted record.
Detroit, who lost an unprecedented 25th straight game on the road, had a chance to force overtime but failed on a two-point conversion with 14 seconds remaining after a Calvin Johnson touchdown brought the Lions to within two points.
"You want to win and get that over with, get that done with and go on with your season."
The Vikings (3-6), who came a win short of making last season's Super Bowl, are in danger of missing the playoffs after falling 27-13 to the Chicago Bears (6-3).
"We're running out of games," said Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, who tossed three interceptions a week after he threw a career-high 446 yards.
"I don't know how to sugarcoat it, if we don't player better than we did today ... the writing's on the wall."
The Jacksonville Jaguars (5-4) pulled off one of the most extraordinary wins of the season when they beat the Houston Texans (4-5) 31-24 on the game's final play.
Houston defensive back Glover Quin tried to slap the ball to the ground but instead knocked it straight into the arms of Jaguars receiver Mike Thomas to score.
But the Cowboys built a lead and overcame the distraction of a blackout at the New Meadowlands Stadium that will host the 2014 Super Bowl to register a deserved win.
Joe Nedney kicked a 29-yard overtime field goal to give the 49ers a victory over the Rams, who tied the game with a 33-yard field goal from Josh Brown at the end of regulation.
Olindo Mare kicked five field goals as the Seattle Seahawks (5-4) cruised to a 36-18 victory over the Arizona Cardinals (3-6) while the Denver Broncos (3-6) broke a four-game losing streak with a 49-29 win over the Kansas City Chiefs (5-4).
The Indianapolis Colts (6-3) held on for a 23-17 win over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals (2-7) while the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-3) cruised to a 31-16 win over the struggling Carolina Panthers (1-8).
The Miami Dolphins (5-4) needed three quarterbacks but got their first home win of the season with a 29-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans (5-4).
After Chad Pennington and Chad Henne both left the game with injuries, third stringer Tyler Thigpen led an 85-yard drive in the fourth quarter to seal the victory.
(Editing by Frank Pingue)