The Washington Redskins disposed of last year’s Super Bowl runners-up, the Pittsburgh Steelers, in impressive fashion with a 16-7 victory at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland Aug. 12.
A large Steeler contingent was on hand, with black and gold spattered throughout the crowd. Washington managed to string a few long drives together that finally resulted in an eight-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Rex Grossman to Santana Moss late in the second quarter to give Washington a 7-0 lead.
Pittsburgh answered on the following drive when former Bowie State running back Isaac Redman scored on a 22-yard run to even the score just before halftime. Kicker Graham Gano, who replaced kicker Shayne Graham after the starter missed a pair of field goals in the first half, finished off Pittsburgh with three connections in the final two quarters of play.
Critics put little stock into preseason games, but after a shortened summer due to a labor lockout, this year’s exhibition games will matter more than usual. For players like Grossman, who finds himself in a battle for the starting quarterback job, performing well in the summer opener was vital.
“I thought Rex had a good game,” head coach Mike Shanahan said. “I thought he played well. I thought he managed the game well. I was pleased with the way he managed the two-minute offense right at the end of the half. Still like to get in the end zone a few more times, but overall, pleased with the effort.”
Grossman and a few other starters played deep into the second quarter, a far cry from normal preseason openers in which starters usually play only a series or two.
“Our game plan was to keep the starters in except for London and Hall to get people used to our system,” Shanahan added. “A lot of people haven’t played our system. We got two new safeties that are completely new. You got a new nose tackle, a new defensive end. Obviously, with London not in there we just felt we needed a little bit of practice time, and we didn’t hit a lot over the last how many days we’ve been in camp. We’ve had two practices in pads. I felt we needed to tackle, and I was pleased with the effort.”