WASHINGTON — The same crowd that booed the Redskins for the first 50 minutes of their game against the New York Jets Sunday was applauded by Washington Coach Joe Gibbs after his team's 17-16 comeback victory.
"The fans deserve a large part of the credit for what happened," Gibbs said after a 28-yard field goal by Ali Haji-Sheikh with 54 seconds remaining capped a rally in which the Redskins scored 10 points in the final 5:55.
"When our crowd gets going, there's nothing like it," Gibbs said. "Our fans sensed we needed them and they responded."
The Redskins, down 16-7, got a 2-yard touchdown pass from Jay Schroeder to Kelvin Bryant, then drove 68 yards in 9 plays in the closing minutes to set up Haji-Sheikh's game-winning kick.
The drive was kept alive when Schroeder passed to Ricky Sanders for a 39-yard gain on third down from the Washington 32.
The Redskins were one of only three replacement teams that went 3-0 during the walkout, and while the regulars floundered Sunday, many in the sellout crowd of 53,497 shouted, "Bring back the scabs."
That proved to put a little more pressure on the Redskins, who were already being pressed by the Jets as time wound down.
"In our minds we were thinking, 'We've got to win this or our fans are really going to be on our backs,' " tight end Clint Didier said.
"It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be," linebacker Rich Milot said of the booing. "I probably would have been more hostile if I'd been up in the stands."
After Haji-Sheikh's game-winning kick, the Jets drove to the Washington 45 in the final seconds, but Pat Leahy's 62-yard field goal attempt fell far short as time expired.
The Jets had used all their timeouts when they started their final march.
"I still think we had a great opportunity at the end," O'Brien said. "If we had just one timeout, I'm sure we could have gotten closer."
The victory enabled the Redskins (5-1) to remain alone atop the NFC East. New York, which has never beaten Washington, is 3-3.
Leahy kicked three field goals and Ken O'Brien threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Mickey Shuler to account for New York's points. But O'Brien was sacked seven times, including three times by Charles Mann.
"They put some good pressure on me," said O'Brien, who nevertheless completed 18 of 27 passes for 174 yards. "I held onto the ball a little too long a couple of times."
Schroeder, playing in his first game since he sprained his shoulder Sept. 13, completed 15 of 38 passes for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns.
"We weren't real sharp out there." said Schroeder, who completed only 9 of his first 28 passes.