COLUMBIA, S.C. -- What was a huge success for NFL expansion hopes here was nothing more than a disappointing setback for )) Washington coach Joe Gibbs, as his Redskins fell to the previously winless New York Jets, 13-9, last night.
With 69,117 packing Williams-Brice Stadium, those promoting the idea of an NFL team for the Carolinas had to be pleased. For the Redskins, playing their final exhibition game, it was much less satisfying, despite a last-minute rally that fell 18 yards short.
The Jets bolted to a 13-0 halftime lead, then weathered a late rally that had what remained of the largely partisan Redskins crowd on its feet cheering.
Reserve quarterback Cary Conklin engineered a drive that culminated in his 15-yard touchdown pass to Jimmie Johnson with 4:38 remaining. Chip Lohmiller's point-after pulled the Redskins within 13-7.
They were threatening again moments later after quarterback Browning Nagle's fumble gave them possession at the Jets' 14. Conklin hit Johnson for a first down at the 2. But Conklin tripped coming away from center, losing 3 yards, then missed three passes in the end zone to end the threat.
The Jets took an intentional safety with 48 seconds remaining to complete the scoring. But they still weren't out of the woods. Brian Mitchell fielded the ensuing free kick at his 15-yard line and turned it into a 40-yard return to the New York 45. Conklin completed two passes to get a first down at the Jets 18, but couldn't stop the clock and time expired.
In taking their 13-0, first-half lead, the Jets topped their full-game production in three previous preseason games -- all losses. Neither team produced much in the way of offense, particularly the Redskins, who managed just 158 total yards.
New York scored the game's first touchdown on its second possession after a Redskins punt. Quarterback Ken O'Brien was on target throughout the 11-play, 70-yard drive that consumed 4:48.
O'Brien passed 13 yards to Rob Moore and an 11-yard interference penalty got the Jets a first down at the Washington 36. A 19-yard strike to Al Toon netted a first down at the 15, and O'Brien connected with Toon on a sideline pattern on the next play for the touchdown. Toon beat a diving Martin Mayhew to make the catch at the 5 and tiptoed in for the score. Pat Leahy's point-after made it 7-0 Jets, with 5:57 left in the first quarter.
Washington came up with its best drive of the half on its next possession, moving from its 17 to the New York 34. Quarterback Mark Rypien completed five passes during the march, the longest a 13-yarder to Art Monk to get it to the 34.
Gary Clark dropped a pass from Rypien at that point, and, on the next play, Rypien, under a heavy rush, attempted to throw the ball away. It was picked off by defensive tackle Bill Pickel, the first of his nine-year career.
Starting on their 37, the Jets went to work again. Fullback Brad Baxter got it started with a 16-yard burst, and O'Brien found Moore open on the sideline for a 16-yard completion and a first down at the Washington 27.
Two penalties, for an illegal formation and illegal procedure, hurt, however, and O'Brien's perfect strike to a wide-open Dale Dawkins was dropped on third down.
Leahy was perfect on a 47-yard field goal with 11:28 left in the half as the Jets forged a 10-0 lead.
Ricky Ervins returned the ensuing kickoff 45 yards, with only Leahy preventing a touchdown. But the Redskins failed to capitalize when Rypien's first-down pass to Monk for a 27-yard gain was fumbled away. Cornerback Tony Stargel picked up the loose ball and returned it to the Jets' 47.
Washington moved from its 15 to a first down at the 48 on its next possession, but an 8-yard loss by Earnest Byner and three penalties stymied that effort.
The Jets took over after a punt and a holding penalty at their 10 with 1:51 left in the half. After two short completions and a 4-yard run by Blair Thomas produced a first down at the 22, O'Brien began opening it up.
He hit Moore on consecutive 15-yarders and then hooked up with Thomas on a 23-yard play for a first down at the Washington 25 with 31 seconds remaining. O'Brien then hit Reggie Moore for a first down at the 14 and a 6-yard toss to Chris Burkett at the 8, where they stopped the clock with 0:03 showing.
Leahy's 25-yard field goal ended the quarter.
O'Brien was good on 14 of 20 passes for 153 yards with no interceptions in the first half, the longest a 23-yarder. Moore caught four for 59 yards, the longest 16 yards.
Rypien completed 12 of 16 attempts for 127 yards, the longest 27 yards, and had one interception. Ricky Sanders caught five for 53 yards, the longest 13.
Byner was the top rusher in the first half with 31 yards on nine carries, with 24 coming on one carry. Baxter paced the Jets with 24 yards on four carries.