Back rower Jake Schatz's second try of the night two minutes after the fulltime siren gave Queensland a 38-31 Super Rugby win over the Highlanders after the Reds nearly blew a 21-point halftime lead.
Japan halfback Fumiaki Tanaka's try with less than two minutes remaining helped level the score for the Highlanders in the nine-try match. Schatz's late five-pointer came after the Reds advanced the ball 55 meters in the final stages.
The win moved Queensland, which ended a six-match losing streak, out of last place in the Australia conference and improved its record to four wins in 13 matches.
Will Genia, playing his 100th match for the Reds and a 55-test halfback for Australia, was named man of the match as the Reds ended their worst losing streak since 2007.
The Reds' halftime lead on three unanswered tries marked the first time since the seventh round in 2012 that Queensland kept the opposition scoreless in the first half.
Queensland appeared to have the match won at 28-7 when Schatz scored his first try in the 48th minute from a pushover scrum. And the Reds led 31-17 with five minutes left before Ben Lucas, filling in for the injured Quade Cooper, handed Patrick Osborne an 80-meter intercept try to close the gap to seven points.
"It's good to win again, but we made it hard for ourselves in the second half," Queensland captain James Horwill said.
The Highlanders moved into second place in the New Zealand conference with 38 points and still with a chance of overcoming the first-place Crusaders, who have 41 points.
There are three rounds remaining in this year's regular season following a three-week break for international matches.