Joe Cribbs' third-period touchdown and Rufus Bess' fourth-period fumble recovery helped the Buffalo Bills to a 28-27 victory over the San Diego Chargers today.

The Bills (9-6) took over second place in the AFC East, a half-game behind Miami, and knocked the Chargers (8-6) into a second-place tie in the AFC West.

The Chargers led, 24-21, when Buffalo got the ball on its 32. Nine plays later, Cribbs scored from the one with 3:37 left in the third period.

Rolf Benirschke of San Diego kicked a 27-yard field goal at 14:11 of the fourth quarter to cut the lead to 28-27, and, later in the fourth period, the Chargers moved deep into Bills territory. But defensive end Ben Williams caused Bill Muncie to fumble and Bess recovered on the Bills 25.

San Diego scored its first two touchdowns on a nine-yard run by Muncie in the opening period, and a 17-yard pass from Dan Fouts to Wes Chandler.

With 55 seconds left in the half, Fouts threw threw a short pass to Kellen Winslow. The Bills were offside, and many of the players relaxed. But the flag was thrown late and Winslow completed a 67-yard touchdown play.

Roosevelt Leaks of the Bills scored in the second period on a nine-yard run and in the third quarter on a one-yard plunge.

Muncie's touchdown, his 19th, tied the NFL record for rushing touchdowns in a season, held by Jim Taylor and Earl Campbell.

Ferguson completed 12 of 29 passes for 248 yards while guiding the Bills, defending AFC East champions, to their third straight victory.

Fouts completed 28 of 48 attempts for 343 yards, moving him past the 4,000-yard passing mark for the third consecutive year.