The worst week of Don Shula's coaching career ended with a win.

Irving Fryar juggled and then caught Dan Marino's 21-yard touchdown pass with 11 seconds left, giving the Miami Dolphins and their beleaguered coach a 21-20 victory Sunday over the stunned Atlanta Falcons.The Dolphins rallied from a 20-9 deficit with two touchdowns in the last eight minutes, and Marino drove them 72 yards in the final 1:49 for the winning score.

The desperate, dramatic victory ended a three-game losing streak for the Dolphins (7-6). It could also - at least for the moment - quiet critics who have argued that the 65-year-old Shula should quit because his team has failed to meet expectations.

"This past week has been the toughest I've spent in my coaching career," Shula said. "Everything has been so negative, it's been hard to stay focused."

Miami, the preseason AFC favorite, narrowly avoided falling below .500 for the first time since 1991.

"It was a make-or-break game," Fryar said. "Chances were that if we had lost, we would have been out of it. We were a little tight. In the back of our minds, we knew this was it."

For Atlanta (7-6), the defeat left coach June Jones second-guessing his decision to forego a 45-yard field-goal attempt that could have clinched a victory with less than two minutes left. Instead, Bryan Cox stopped Craig Heyward for no gain on fourth-and-1.

"Sometimes you have to overcome the coaching, too," Jones said. "We just felt we could end the game. There are no guarantees. In hindsight, we probably should have kicked it. It was probably a bad decision, but I think you can get half a yard when you need it."

The Falcons, seeking their first playoff berth since 1991, have lost two in a row for the first time this season. They dropped an overtime decision at Arizona a week earlier.

"It just piles on," guard Robbie Tobeck said. "Last week was difficult to put behind us, and now this."

Atlanta began the day one game behind first-place San Francisco in the NFC West, while Miami trailed AFC East leader Buffalo by two games.

The Dolphins' winning drive started at their 28-yard line after they stopped Heyward's fourth-down plunge. Marino completed four of seven passes, then hobbled for a 12-yard gain one play before the touchdown.

The game-winning pass hit Fryar in the hands at the goal line, but he bobbled it before cradling the ball as he fell in the end zone.

"Luckily I held onto it," Fryar said. "It was wobbly. I was trying to make up my mind whether I was going to catch it with my chest or my hands. I tried to catch it with my hands."

In the first half, Fryar slipped behind the secondary but dropped a potential 54-yard touchdown pass, and later barely missed an attempt at a diving catch in the end zone.

"Fryar finally caught one for a touchdown," Shula said.

Miami closed to 20-15 with an 80-yard march capped by Bernie Parmalee's 3-yard touchdown run midway through the final period. Marino's fourth-and-3 completion to O.J. McDuffie set up the score.

Against a pass defense ranked last in the NFL, Marino completed 35 of 50 passes for 343 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. It was the 52nd 300-yard game of his career, breaking the league record he had shared with Dan Fouts.

Marino has rallied Miami to victory from a fourth-quarter deficit 31 times, including twice this season.

"That man's a walking Hall of Fame," Falcons safety Kevin Ross said.

Jeff George threw two touchdown passes for the Falcons, who fell to 2-5 on the road.

They lost despite stopping two Miami scoring chances inside the 5-yard line. The Falcons ended the threats with a deflected field goal attempt and an interception by Ross.

Miami reached the Atlanta 3-yard line in the second quarter before Ross returned an interception 33 yards. That set up a six-play drive that ended with Eric Metcalf's 23-yard touchdown run for a 14-3 lead.

Miami closed to 14-9 by scoring with 22 seconds left in the half on Marino's 6-yard pass to Gary Clark.

The Falcons' final scoring drive early in the fourth quarter was sustained by a penalty against Marco Coleman for illegal use of hands, which negated a fumble. George capped the drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Terance Mathis for a 20-9 lead.

Atlanta drove 56 yards on its first possession and took a 7-3 lead on George's 1-yard pass to Bert Emanuel. Morten Andersen made the extra point, setting an NFL record by scoring in his 187th consecutive game. He broke the mark he shared with Jim Breech, who completed his run in 1982.

But at the end, Miami had one more point than Atlanta.

"It was a true test of character, a true test of manhood," Dolphins cornerback Troy Vincent said. "Today was the biggest test of the season."

Chiefs 29, Raiders 23

At Oakland, Calif., Marcus Allen ran for a season-high 124 yards in Kansas City's win over Oakland, a team that discarded him, and became the first player in the NFL's 77-year history to run for more than 10,000 yards and catch 5,000 yards in passes.

Allen, who had 21 carries, ran a yard for one touchdown; Kimble Anders went 23 for another; backup QB Rich Gannon scored on a 12-yard bootleg while Bono sat out with a bruised throwing hand, and Brian Washington sealed the win with a 74-yard interception return midway through the fourth quarter.

Redskins 24, Cowboys 17

At Irving, Texas, with a brilliant gameplan centered around Heath Shuler and Terry Allen, Washington used Norv Turner's knowledge of his former employers to stun Dallas and sweep the two-game series for the first time since 1987.

Allen scored two touchdowns and Shuler passed for another as the Redskins (4-9) snapped a four-game losing streak. The Cowboys' loss to their former offensive coordinator prevented Dallas (10-3) from clinching a playoff spot.

Broncos 31, Jaguars 23

At Denver, John Elway compensated for a poor special teams showing, passing for four touchdowns as Denver improved its playoff hopes with a win over Jacksonville.

Denver (7-6) is tied with Indianapolis and Miami for the final two AFC wild-card slots.

The Broncos looked ready to cruise to their sixth home win after Elway hit Mike Pritchard on a 45-yard pass to make it 28-10 with 14 seconds left in the third quarter, but Jacksonville (3-10) fooled everybody on the ensuing kickoff.

Chargers 31, Browns 13

At San Diego, with Natrone Means sidelined for the fourth straight game, Aaron Hayden rushed 32 times for 127 yards and his first two NFL touchdowns as San Diego beat Cleveland to keep its faint playoff hopes alive.

Hayden scored on runs of 3 yards and 1 yard as the Chargers built a 17-3 halftime lead. He was mobbed by his teammates after his first score, and even Means, who hasn't played since straining his groin five plays into a loss to Miami on Nov. 5, scampered down from the Chargers' bench to congratulate the rookie.

Seahawks 26, Eagles 14

At Seattle, the Seahawks, coming off a loss to the New York Jets in the Kingdome last week, beat Philadelphia as Todd Peterson kicked a career-best four field goals, Chris Warren ran for a touchdown and Rick Mirer ran for another.

Eagle quarterback Rodney Peete's last chance to catch the Seahawks ended when Robert Blackmon intercepted him with 2:13 left at the Seattle 35.

Peterson booted his 47-yarder as time ran out in the first half for a 17-7 Seattle lead. He made the score 20-7 with his 35-yarder in the third quarter and, after Ricky Watters' second touchdown run for the Eagles early in the fourth quarter, kicked a 37-yard field goal with 5:51 gone in the final quarter.

Panthers 13, Colts 10

At Clemson, S.C., Eric Guliford returned a punt 17 yards to the Colts 43 with two minutes remaining, and after Derwin Gray was called for a personal foul for grabbing Guliford's face mask on an incomplete pass, John Kasay kicked a 38-yard field goal for the win as Carolina upended Indianapolis.

The Panthers sacked Jim Harbaugh, the NFL's top-rated passer, six times, knocking him out of the game with a sprained right knee.

Steelers 21, Oilers 7

At Pittsburgh, the Steelers stretched their winning streak to an NFL-high six games and wrapped up its third AFC Central championship in coach Bill Cowher's four seasons as they beat Houston.

Neil O'Donnell threw a pair of first-half touchdown passes and Bam Morris ran for 102 yards and a late fourth-quarter touchdown.

Pittsburgh wrapped up the division title faster than in any season since their four Super Bowl runs during the 1970s.

Packers 24, Bengals 10

At Green Bay, Wis., Brett Favre threw three touchdowns and completed 31 of 43 passes for 339 yards, his fifth 300-yard game this year and 10th of his career as Green Bay defeated Cincinnati.

Favre became the third-fastest quarterback in NFL history to reach 100 career touchdown passes, reaching the plateau in his 62nd game. The record of 44 games was set by Dan Marino from 1983-86. Johnny Unitas did it in 53 games from 1956-60.

Vikings 31, Buccaneers 17

At Minnesota, the Vikings tallied eight sacks to help them breeze past Tampa Bay.

Quarterback Trent Dilfer absorbed six sacks before being ejected for fighting with tackle John Randle.

The Vikings got a 66-yard touchdown run from Amp Lee, the longest of his career, and Warren Moon had touchdown passes of 27 and 60 yards to Cris Carter.

Rams 23, Jets 20

At East Rutherford, N.J., Isaac Bruce broke free for a pair of TD catches to lead St. Louis past New York.

Bruce, the league's leading receiver in passing yardage, wasn't a factor for nearly three quarters. But he caught TDs of 1 and 11 yards from backup Mark Rypien and finished with six receptions for 69 yards.

Saints 31, Patriots 17

At Foxboro, Mass., New Orleans used three big scoring plays against New England to move closer to the playoffs in a season that began with five losses.

The Saints have won five of their last six. They were backed by Jim Everett's touchdown passes of 50 yards to Quinn Early and 69 yards to Lorenzo Neal and Mario Bates' 66-yard TD run.