Stars were out on Saturday night at the Meadowlands.
Brett Favre, in his much-hyped New York Jets debut, tossed passes to new teammates. Just a few feet away, actor Tom Cruise signed autographs for fans.
Redskins coaches and players paid no mind.
There was a preseason game to play, and the team wanted to continue to build positive momentum heading into the 2008 season.
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, threw a 33-yard touchdown pass to fellow rookie Jason Goode with 1:17 to play in the game, providing the winning points.
The Jets had decided to blitz Brennan, and the decision proved costly.
"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."
It wasn't over, though. Shoddy tackling by the Redskins' second- and third-string defenders allowed the Jets to get in position to tie or take the lead with 15 seconds left in the game.
On 2nd-and-5 at the Redskins' 5-yard line, Jets backup 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 to send the game into overtime.
Kicker Mike Nugent's 23-yard attempt hit the left upright. No good.
The Redskins had won, improving their preseason record to 3-0.
Bizarre ending aside, the Redskins played 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 for the second week in a row.
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 offense 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 fell incomplete and Campbell absorbed a hard hit as he threw the pass.
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.
The Redskins continue their preseason schedule on Saturday, Aug. 16, when they travel to North Jersey to take on the New York Jets at the Meadowlands. Kickoff is 7 p.m. ET.
The Meadowlands has a FieldTurf surface. The stadium, which also houses the New York Giants, seats 80,242.
The game is sure to have a national focus because Brett Favre makes his debut as the Jets' quarterback. New York acquired Favre in an Aug. 7 trade with the Green Bay Packers.
The game will be televised locally on Comcast SportsNet and WUSA-TV Channel 9. Mike Patrick will call the play-by-play, with color commentary by Joe Theismann. Kelli Johnson serves as sideline reporter.
On radio, the game will be broadcast locally on ESPN 980. Larry Michael handles the play-by-play with color commentary by Hall of Famers Sonny Jurgensen and Sam Huff. Rick "Doc" Walker will serve as sideline reporter.
Washington is coming off a 17-14 win over the Buffalo Bills on Aug. 9 at FedExField.
The Redskins' offense had all 11 projected starters open the game and play two series. The unit gained five first downs and 81 yards on 18 plays, hitting pay-dirt on its second possession with a 1-yard touchdown run by Clinton Portis.
Portis had seven carries for 18 yards plus the touchdown, while Ladell Betts had five carries for 41 yards and three catches for 41 yards, including a 12-yard touchdown grab on a screen pass in the second quarter.
Jason Campbell looked sharp for the second straight week as he connected on 7-of-10 passes for 71 yards.
Washington's defense, which included projected starters Jason Taylor, Andre Carter, Cornelius Griffin and London Fletcher, limited the Bills to one first down and 21 total yards on 10 plays in its first two series.
The Jets are coming off a 24-20 preseason win over the Cleveland Browns.
Fourth-round pick Dwight Lowery returned a punt 62 yards in the fourth quarter for the deciding score of the game. Lowery, a defensive back, also logged a game-clinching interception.
Backup quarterback Brett Ratliff hit receiver David Clowney with a 71-yard touchdown pass in the second quarter on his first NFL play from scrimmage.
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.
NEWS & NOTES: REDSKINS-JETS
-- Campbell And Favre
A pair of Mississippi quarterbacks--Jason Campbell and Brett Favre--will face off on Saturday night in preseason.
Campbell first met Favre one summer in the late 1990s when he was a senior at Taylorsville High School in Taylorsville, Miss., about 100 miles from Kiln, Miss., where Favre grew up.
Favre, 12 years older than Campbell, was working out at a local gym in Hattiesburg, Miss., where Favre now resides during the offseason. Young Campbell arrived for a workout with the same trainer.
"Once Brett was finished, I had a chance to meet him and see him up close," Campbell said. "He gave me some words of encouragement before I headed off to college [at Auburn]. He is just a tremendous guy."
Campbell wanted to meet Favre again last summer.
So he went to his home in Hattiesburg unannounced and rang the call box at the front gate.
"I don't like imposing on people's privacy, but I just felt like I wanted to go down to speak to him," Campbell said. "I hadn't had the opportunity to talk to him in a while. He has a call box outside and I tried to get in touch with him.
"Unfortunately, he wasn't there."
How did two guys from small towns in Mississippi make it to the NFL?
"You have nothing else to do but sit outside and throw a football at trees," Campbell laughed. "That's how you work on your accuracy, knocking loose bark off of trees."
-- Zorn And Favre
Redskins head coach Jim Zorn and new Jets quarterback Brett Favre share a mentor of sorts in current Seattle Seahawks head coach Mike Holmgren.
Holmgren tutored both Zorn and Favre for seven seasons.
Favre and Holmgren joined Green Bay together in 1992 and won a Super Bowl in 1996 before Holmgren left for Seattle following the 1998 season.
Holmgren was joined in Seattle by Zorn in 2001, where Zorn served as quarterbacks coach until 2007.
-- Favre And the Redskins
Brett Favre has played in 279 games, including postseason, all with the Green Bay Packers. But Favre has faced the Redskins on only five occasions, including four starts with Green Bay and one relief effort as a rookie for the Atlanta Falcons.
Favre threw his first NFL pass on Nov. 10, 1991, against Washington as a member of the Falcons. He finished the game 0-for-4 in a 56-17 loss to the Redskins.
Despite winning all four of his career starts against the redskins, the three-time NFL Most Valuable Player is 70-of-118 (59.3 percent) for 802 yards with four touchdowns and eight interceptions for a 62.9 passer rating. The passer rating is the second-worst among the 31 NFL opponents he has faced.
-- New Jets
The New York Jets will be breaking in Brett Favre against the Redskins, but he is not the team's only major addition.
Guard Alan Faneca has earned seven consecutive trips to the Pro Bowl as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers before signing with Jets this past offseason.
Right tackle Damien Woody has played for two Super Bowl championship teams (New England Patriots in 2001 and 2003) and started 125 career games. He played for the Detroit Lions last year.
Fullback Tony Richardson has played 14 NFL seasons with 106 starts, rushing for 1,601 yards and 15 touchdowns. In 2007, he earned his third consecutive Pro Bowl as a member of the Minnesota Vikings.
Tight end Bubba Franks has amassed 256 catches and 32 touchdowns in an eight-year career with the Green Bay Packers. He has earned three Pro Bowl appearances.
Defensive tackle Kris Jenkins has played in 85 games in seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers, recording 20.5 sacks and three blocked kicks.
Outside linebacker Calvin Pace has played in 67 games in five seasons for Arizona, logging 14 sacks, four forced fumbles and one interception.
-- Jason Taylor With the Redskins
Defensive end Jason Taylor is a familiar foe to the New York Jets. Taylor, who saw his first action as a Redskin in last Saturday's preseason game against Buffalo, competed against the Jets twice a year with the Miami Dolphins in the AFC East.
Taylor has 16.5 career sacks against the Jets. He has sacked current Jets backup quarterback Kellen Clemens twice.
Taylor has sacked Brett Favre three times, including twice in a Green Bay-Miami matchup in October 2006. The Redskins traded with the Dolphins to acquire the six-time Pro Bowler on July 20.
Taylor's 117 sacks are the most among all NFL active players and rank 14th all-time in NFL history.
(The NFL sack leader is former Bills and Redskins defensive end Bruce Smith, who leads with an even 200 sacks. Smith played in Buffalo from 1985-99 and Washington from 2000-03.)
-- Coles vs. Moss
Santana Moss and Laveranues Coles were traded for each other in March 2005. The results?
Since 2005, Moss has played 44 games with 200 catches for 3,081 yards and 18 touchdowns. He sat a Redskins franchise record in 2005 with 1,483 receiving yards.
In the same span, Coles has played 44 games for the Jets with 219 catches for 2,589 yards and 17 touchdowns.
-- Remembering the 'Jet-Skins'
Offensive lineman Randy Thomas is the last of the so-called "Jet-Skins," the name given to the group of former Jets free agents the Redskins acquired in the 2003 offseason.
Thomas, Laveranues Coles, John Hall and Chad Morton all joined the Redskins that offseason.
The Redskins have two ex-Jets along the offensive line. Pete Kendall, a Jet from 2004-06, is expected to play at left guard. Jason Fabini, a Jet from 1998-2005, is expected to get snaps at right guard.
Khary Campbell, who played for the Jets from 2002-03 before joining the Redskins as a free agent, could draw the start at weak-side linebacker in place of Rocky McIntosh.
-- Redskins Preseason Offensive Leaders
In two preseason games, Jason Campbell leads the Redskins' passing attack with an 80 percent completion percentage. He has completed 12-of-15 passes for 132 yards and one touchdown.
Campbell's QB rating is 125.6, second-best on the team to Colt Brennan who is at 136.3. Brennan has completed 13-of-18 passes for 160 yards and two TDs.
Marcus Mason leads the Redskins' ground game with 178 yards on 34 carries, an impressive 5.2 yards-per-carry average. Mason also has three catches for 21 yards and a touchdown.
Billy McMullen leads the receivers with seven catches for 89 yards, including a 34-yard grab. Antwaan Randle El leads projected starters with four catches for 50 yards and a touchdown.
As a team, the Redskins are averaging 155 yards per game on the ground. They have converted 12-of-24 third-down conversions in preseason.
-- Local Jet
Jets reserve offensive lineman Will Montgomery, a second-year player out of Virginia Tech, visited Redskins Park in 2006.
Montgomery, a 6-3, 312-pound guard, took part in the team's pre-draft local college tryout day for rookies in 2006. He ended up being a seventh-round draft pick by the Carolina Panthers.
Montgomery played high school football at nearby Centreville High School in Clifton, Va. He was coached by current Redskins pro scout Don Warren.
-- Preseason Record
The Redskins are 107-125-2 all-time in preseason play, including the Aug. 9 victory over the Buffalo Bills at FedExField.
Last year, Washington was 2-2 in the preseason.
-- What's Next?
After the Jets preseason game, the Redskins travel to Charlotte, N.C., to play the Carolina Panthers on Saturday, Aug. 23. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
The game will be broadcast on Comcast SportsNet and WUSA TV Channel 9.
FAMILIAR FACES ON THE JETS
Wide receiver Laveranues Coles played for the Redskins in 2003-04. He was acquired by the Redskins as a restricted free agent from the Jets in March 2003. He caught 172 passes and seven touchdowns in two seasons in Washington. His 90 receptions in 2004 rank as the third most in one season in franchise history.
Linebacker David Bowens played one game for the Redskins in 2001.
Offensive lineman Kyle DeVan spent the 2008 offseason with the Redskins but was released prior to training camp. DeVan is an undrafted rookie.
Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer served as quarterbacks coach for the Redskins in 2001.
Running backs coach Jimmy Raye served as offensive coordinator for the Redskins in 2001.
Defensive quality control coach Andy Dickerson spent the 2003 season as an operations intern with the Redskins.
Assistant general manager Scott Cohen spent 1993- 99 with the Redskins working his way up from intern to training camp director to scouting administrator to college scout.