Rookie defensive end Darrell Davis recovered a fumble in the end zone to give the New York Jets their first fourth-quarter touchdown this season and a 17-12 victory yesterday in Houston.

Davis, a 12th-round draft choice from Texas Christian, sacked the Oilers' Warren Moon for a six-yard loss, and when Moon lost the ball Davis fell on it, helping the Jets (3-5) end a three-game losing streak.

The Jets protected the lead with a six-minute drive late in the fourth quarter that finished with Pat Leahy's 32-yard field goal with 44 seconds left, giving them a five-point edge. Leahy has converted 71 of his last 75 field-goal tries inside the 40.

Moon completed three straight passes in the last seconds, getting the Oilers to the Jets 27, but a final alley-oop pass into the end zone was incomplete.

Houston (4-4) had won four of its previous five games, but the Jets capitalized when the Oilers fumbled at the Jets 1 and sacked Moon five times for 39 yards in losses. Moon hadn't been sacked in the last two games.

Going into the game, the Jets had been outscored 56-12 in the fourth quarter this season and had lost three times after taking leads into the fourth period.

The Oilers controlled the ball for 20:57 of the first half but trailed by 7-6 at halftime after Ken O'Brien's 42-yard pass to Al Toon 3:17 into the second quarter.

"It's taken a while but we're all finally beginning to understand what it takes," Toon said. "We're all beginning to realize that it will work and we're gaining confidence each time out."

Bills 27, Patriots 10:

Thurman Thomas rushed for 136 yards and a touchdown in Foxboro, Mass., where the Bills (6-1) didn't need any fourth-quarter comeback this time. They had rallied in the last period to win their previous three games. But they led the Patriots, 14-3, at halftime and 27-3 after scoring on three consecutive possessions in the third quarter.

Each team had split its first two games, but the Bills have won their last five, while the Patriots (1-6) lost their last five and are off to their worst start since 1970.

Buffalo, which remained tied with Miami for the AFC East lead, went ahead 14-0 on Don Smith's 1-yard dive in the first quarter and Thomas' three-yard run midway through the second. Thomas, who missed most of the previous game with a bad right knee, fell short of his season-high of 214 rushing yards.

Lions 27, Saints 10:

Jimmy Williams returned a fumble 53 yards for a touchdown in New Orleans and the Lions intercepted three of Steve Walsh's passes.

Walsh threw two interceptions in the second half and flubbed a handoff in the third quarter. The Saints' first four possessions of the second half ended in two interceptions and two fumbles.

"I told the team all week long that whatever else might happen, the Saints will not give this game away," said Lions Coach Wayne Fontes, who admitted he isn't a good prognosticator. "It was not at all the sort of game he expected from a team coached by Jim Mora.

The Lions won although Barry Sanders rushed 10 yards in 12 carries. The Saints are 2-5, the Lions 3-4.

Chargers 41, Buccaneers 10:

Marion Butts had three touchdown runs and the Chargers (3-5) intercepted Chris Chandler four times, converting two into scores, in winning for the first time in four home games.

The turnovers multiplied in the last 6:06 as Chandler, third-string quarterback Jeff Carlson and kick returner Danny Peebles fumbled on three consecutive Tampa Bay possessions. The fumbles, which increased Tampa Bay's turnovers to seven, led to 10 more San Diego points, giving the Chargers their highest point total of the season.

Butts completed the Chargers' scoring with a five-yard run that followed the fumble by Carlson taking the snap on his first play of the game.

John Carney converted his second field goal, a 27-yarder with 4:31 remaining, following Chandler's last turnover. Chandler fumbled after being hit by Burt Grossman, with San Diego recovering at the Buccaneers 15.

Chandler, acquired in an August trade from Indianapolis, was making his first start for Tampa Bay (4-4). Vinny Testaverde sat out the game with a jammed left toe.