EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Sometimes it appeared the Washington Redskins had too many men on their side yesterday.
Actually, they did.
On their game-winning, fourth-quarter drive, the Redskins benefited from three scenarios -- New York cornerback Ray Mickens' two pass interference penalties and the Jets' fielding just 10 players during Stephen Davis' 4-yard touchdown run with 4: 11 remaining.
Those New York mistakes helped vault the Redskins to a 27-20 victory over the Jets before 78,161 at Giants Stadium.
The Redskins' good fortune continued the rest of the game as defensive end Kenard Lang forced a critical fumble and the instant-replay officials overturned a touchdown by Jets wide receiver Keyshawn Johnson that would have brought New York to within three points with two minutes remaining.
Nevertheless, the Redskins (2-1) survived and can celebrate their first winning record since December 1997.
The victory also sealed a Meadowlands sweep for the Redskins, who routed the Giants here, 50-21, a week ago.
"I'd like to say this is a statement game for us," said quarterback Brad Johnson, who was 17 of 28 for 241 yards.
"It's a huge win coming back in the fourth quarter up in New York against the Jets."
New York (0-3) staked itself to a 17-13 lead with 8: 10 left in the game after a 3-yard touchdown run by Curtis Martin and a 37-yard field goal by John Hall.
Facing their first fourth-quarter deficit of the season, the Redskins came out passing exclusively to wide-out Albert Connell, Mickens' defensive assignment. Johnson connected with Connell on three straight plays.
Continuing the trend, Johnson tried to hit Connell a fourth consecutive time, but Mickens grabbed Connell's left arm.
After that penalty put the Redskins on the Jets' 18, Connell didn't get another look until three plays later, when Mickens again tried to slow Connell down by placing both hands on the receiver's hips.
"I was surprised I got it because they missed a lot of them," Connell said. "It came when it counted, though."
With first-and-goal on the 4, Davis dived over the right side with little difficulty to give the Redskins a 20-17 advantage with 4: 11 left. But the run became increasingly easier to execute because the Jets had only 10 players on defense in a miscommunication with their goal-line alignment.
Mickens' penalties accounted for 42 of the Redskins' 80 yards on that scoring drive.
"We are very disappointed with the way it turned out," said Jets coach Bill Parcells, who falls to 0-3 for just the third time in 15 years as an NFL head coach.
"I think the penalties were our downfall here again today."
The Redskins' defense then made its biggest contribution of the year after allowing Jets quarterback Rick Mirer to throw his first touchdown pass -- a 35-yarder to Dedric Ward -- in three years and failing to slow New York's deliberate outside pitch running game.
With the Jets trying to answer the Redskins, Lang hit Mirer's arm on the third play of the possession, causing a fumble that was recovered by defensive tackle Dan Wilkinson.
Just 58 seconds later, Davis broke two tackles to score from 7 yards out with 2: 21 remaining, increasing the Redskins' margin to 27-17.
The Redskins' defense thrived on creating big plays to overshadow its inconsistent effort. The unit came up with six sacks and two turnovers to offset a performance that let a struggling Jets offense out-gain the Redskins 337-333.
Said Lang: "When you have an opportunity to make plays in this league, that's the difference between a great player and a good player."
After an 81-yard kickoff return by Kevin Williams, New York appeared to have cut its deficit to three with 1: 52 left when Johnson caught a 16-yard pass in the back of the end zone.
However, the officials reviewed the play and ruled Johnson had bobbled the ball, failing to have possession with two feet inbounds.
"I know he definitely bobbled it," said Redskins cornerback Darrell Green, who watched the play from the other side of the end zone. "It wasn't a touchdown."
Said Parcells: "It's been many years since I had to bite my lip for something that happened on the field."