DENVER, OCT. 8 -- Cleveland's season was on the line. Coach Bud Carson's job was hanging by a thread and so perhaps was Bernie Kosar's job as the Browns' quarterback.

Kosar responded by turning the tables on the team that has so often tormented him, leading Cleveland to 10 points in the final 3:21 and a 30-29 triumph tonight.

Jerry Kauric kicked a 30-yard field goal as time expired after a 48-yard drive engineered by Kosar. Minutes earlier, Kosar had hit Brian Brennan with a 24-yard pass to cut a 29-20 deficit to 29-27.

"It's not just a victory, it's a great victory," said Carson, who even as the game was being played was the subject of rumors that he would be fired if the Browns lost.

In fact, it was almost all Kosar for a team that had scored just three offensive touchdowns in its four previous games.

He completed 24 of 38 passes for 318 yards and three touchdowns. He helped Cleveland (2-3) break a three-game losing streak a week after a 34-0 debacle at Kansas City.

"This meant a lot to a lot of people," Kosar said. "It was almost a must win for us."

What made this victory more satisfying was that it came against a team that had beaten the Browns three times in the last four AFC title games and had won 11 of the last 12 overall between the clubs.

Denver (2-3), which had five turnovers in a loss to Buffalo last week, took advantage of two Cleveland mistakes to overcome a 20-19 deficit early in the fourth quarter.

Then came Kosar. He hit a 24-yard pass to former University of Maryland wide receiver Vernon Joines on fourth and two from midfield. He threw his third touchdown pass, the 24-yarder to Brennan, with 3:21 left.