(Reuters) - The San Francisco 49ers prevailed in an overtime thriller with New Orleans after Saints quarterback Drew Brees fumbled and the league-leading Arizona Cardinals won again but suffered a costly blow in defeating the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.
Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer went down with a knee injury after being sacked in the fourth quarter of their 31-14 win and was carried off the field.
Backup Drew Stanton promptly came through with a go-ahead,48-yard touchdown pass to John Brown and the Cardinals (8-1) added an interception return for a TD and scored on a fumble recovery that kept them as the surprise team of the season.
San Francisco linebacker Ahmad Brooks blindsided Saints quarterback Brees to force a fumble and allow the 49ers to escape New Orleans with a wild 27-24 victory.
Brooks’ big play set up Phil Dawson’s winning 35-yard field goal and the 49ers (5-4) prevailed to keep pace in the NFC West despite squandering a 21-10 second-quarter lead.
Brees, who tossed three scores and two interceptions, put the Saints (4-5) ahead 24-21 with less than two minutes left in the fourth quarter but San Francisco rallied to force overtime thanks to a 51-yard pass from Colin Kaepernick on fourth down that sent up Dawson’s 45-yard game tying field goal.
New Orleans had what would have been a game-winning 47-yard touchdown pass from Brees to Jimmy Graham wiped out with seconds to play in regulation when Graham was called for pass interference.
The freefalling New York Jets stunned the Pittsburgh Steelers 20-13 to snap an eight-game losing streak behind a solid start from Michael Vick.
Vick threw two touchdowns and added 39 yards on the ground to become the first NFL quarterback to reach 6,000 yards rushing.
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, who had thrown six touchdowns in each of his last two games, was limited to one score and sacked twice as the Jets forced four turnovers.
In Seattle, the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks stayed just two games behind Arizona in their division after Marshawn Lynch rumbled for 140 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-17 win over the New York Giants.
Quarterback Russell Wilson ran for another 107 yards and a score in Seattle’s third successive victory.
In Oakland, Peyton Manning added to his career record touchdown total with five more TD passes to lead Denver in a 41-17 rout over winless Oakland.
Manning tossed two scores apiece to Emmanuel Sanders and Julius Thomas and Denver (7-2) stayed in first place in the AFC West.
In Detroit, Matthew Stafford fired an 11-yard touchdown pass to Theo Riddick in the final minute to lift the Lions (7-2) past Miami 20-16.
Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson had 113 receiving yards and a TD after missing three games because of an ankle injury.
The Kansas City Chiefs also needed late magic as they scored 14 straight fourth-quarter points to nip Buffalo 17-13.
Jamaal Charles broke off a 39-yard touchdown run to bring the Chiefs close, and they took the lead on quarterback Alex Smith’s eight-yard run.
The Dallas Cowboys had quarterback Tony Romo back in the lineup and returned to their winning ways in a 31-17 victory over Jacksonville at Wembley Stadium in London.
Romo tossed three scores in his return from a back injury and Dallas improved to 7-3.
The rushing of Baltimore’s Justin Forsett sparked the Ravens to a 21-7 victory over Tennessee.
Forsett finished with 112 yards on the ground and two scores as Baltimore improved to 6-4.
Reporting by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles, editing by Gene Cherry