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 [Fletcher] and [DeAngelo] 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.”