Stars were out on Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
Brett Favre, in his much-hyped New York Jets debut, tossed passes to his new teammates. Just a few feet away, actor Tom Cruise signed autographs for fans.
The Redskins paid no mind.
There was a preseason game to play, and the Redskins wanted to continue to build positive momentum.
It took a fourth quarter rally for the Redskins to pull out a 13-10 win over the Jets.
Colt Brennan, celebrating his 25th birthday on Saturday, threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie Jason Goode with 1:17 to play in the game.
The Jets had decided to blitz Brennan.
"They brought everyone they could bring, but they forgot to cover the tight end," head coach Jim Zorn. "We were fortunate. They were coming to sack him to try to end the game there, and they ended up paying for it."
Due to shoddy tackling by the Redskins' second- and third-stringers on defense, the Jets were able to get in position to score with 10 seconds left in the game.
With the ball at the Redskins' 5-yard line, Jets quarterback Brett Ratliff threw to wide receiver Paul Raymond in the end zone, but Raymond inexplicably dropped the ball.
After deliberation, the Jets opted to try for a field goal on the next play, which would send the game into overtime. Kicker Mike Nugent's 23-yard attempt hit the left upright. No good.
The victory improved the Redskins' preseason record to 3-0.
Bizarre ending aside, the Redskins were inconsistent on both sides of the ball on Saturday night.
Jason Campbell struggled to generate offense through the air, completing 4-of-10 passes for 28 yards in a quarter of action.
On the other hand, the Redskins' ground game was impressive. Running backs combined for 181 yards and averaged 8.2 yards per carry in the game.
Rock Cartwright led the way with six carries for 90 yards, including a 73-yard scamper in the second quarter. Ladell Betts had six rushes for 34 yards and Marcus Mason had nine rushes for 54 yards.
Still, until Brennan's fourth quarter rally, the Redskins had managed just two Shaun Suisham field goals.
"We had our chances [on offense]," Zorn said. "Several of the plays have to be executed much better to finish drives. I think those were the big issues for us: execution and finishing drives."
Added Campbell: "Opening up our run game is going to be a key to our success. Mixing it up with our pass--I think that will help us out a lot. Anytime you run the ball successfully, it helps set up the play action."
During pre-game, the appearance of Cruise, a close friend of Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder, threatened to upstage Favre. Cruise even signed autographs and posed for pictures with Jets fans in the stands.
Once the game started, though, all eyes were on Favre as he made his debut as quarterback of the Jets.
Favre, beginning his 18th NFL season, completed his first pass of the game, an 11-yarder to wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery.
Favre moved the Jets across midfield. Then Marcus Washington blitzed into the backfield and pressured Favre. Cornelius Griffin joined Washington in the backfield and they combined for a 10-yard sack.
On New York's second drive, Favre connected with Cotchery again for a 19-yard gain. Rookie Kareem Moore, who started at free safety for the injured LaRon Landry, leveled a punishing hit, but Cotchery held on to the ball.
Two plays later, Favre threw a 4-yard touchdown pass to tight end Dustin Keller, who escaped coverage by Rocky McIntosh in the end zone.
The Redskins' initial offensive series did not go well. Campbell's third-down pass to Mike Sellers was incomplete.
Campbell absorbed a hard hit as he threw the pass to Sellers. Afterwards, he slowly got up from the Meadowlands turf.
The Redskins' second drive was more successful.
Campbell spread passes around, throwing to Sellers for 13 yards, Santana Moss for 13 yards and Chris Cooley for seven yards to move the ball into Jets territory.
Then Betts picked up 16 yards behind blocking by Chris Samuels and Sellers to move the offense into scoring range.
The drive stalled when Campbell's pass to Moss was broken up by cornerback David Barrett.
Suisham's 30-yard field goal attempt sailed through the uprights for the Redskins' first points of the contest.
At that point, rookies and backups entered the game en masse.
Cartwright, playing with a rib injury, provided the Redskins' offensive highlight of the second quarter when he burst through a gaping hole for a 73-yard gain. He was caught from behind by safety Cameron Worrell at the Jets' 11-yard line.
Two plays later, Derek Devine was called into the game after Todd Collins was roughed up.
Devine threw to Todd Yoder in the end zone, but safety James Ihedigbo came across field to pick off the pass and dash the Redskins' scoring opportunity.
In the third quarter, Collins returned to the game and started to get into a rhythm. He completed passes to Fred Davis for 10 yards and Billy McMullen for 13 yards. Then Mason cut through a hole to the right side and picked up 19 yards to the Jets' 20-yard line.
Again, the drive stalled and Suisham was called on for another field goal attempt. His 36-yarder was good, narrowing the Jets' lead to 7-6.
Midway through the fourth quarter, Nugent connected in a 46-yard field goal to make the score 10-6.
With just over two minutes to play, Brennan came on with an opportunity to celebrate his birthday in style.
Brennan's first pass was a 37-yard completion to McMullen, who made a leaping grab over cornerback Ahmad Carroll.
Then Mason broke free for a 14-yard gain on a draw play up the middle.
One play later, Brennan found Goode on a short pass across the middle. Goode broke free from his defender and saw open field ahead. He raced into the end zone for the game-winning score.
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUPS
REDSKINS-JETS SERIES HISTORY
The Redskins and Jets have played seven times in preseason, with the Jets holding a 4-3 mark.
The two clubs played at FedExField in the 2006 preseason and the Jets won by a 27-14 score.
In the regular season, the Redskins and Jets have played nine times since the series began in 1972. Washington leads the all-time series 8-1, including a perfect 4-0 mark at the Meadowlands.
The last time the two clubs played was on Nov. 4, 2007 at the Meadowlands. The Redskins won 20-17 as Shaun Suisham kicked a game-winning 46-yard field goal in overtime. It was the fifth field goal of the game for Suisham.
Clinton Portis rushed for 196 yards and one touchdown on 36 carries in the Redskins' win. In all, the Redskins pounded out 296 rushing yards against the Jets, with a lofty 6.2 yards-per-carry average.
TALE OF THE TAPE
|REDSKINS 2007 STATISTICAL RANKINGS|
|JETS 2007 STATISTICAL RANKINGS|