- The Washington Times - Monday, November 28, 2005

A holding call on center Casey Rabach late in regulation was a bad mistake, but the two plays that gained zero yards also were crucial in the Washington Redskins’ 23-17 overtime loss to the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

Redskins cornerback Shawn Springs intercepted a pass by quarterback Drew Brees and returned it to the Chargers 31 with about a minute remaining in the fourth quarter and the score tied 17-17. But Rabach was called for holding two plays later, sending the Redskins back to the 35-yard line.

“Still, we were sitting there at the 35, and it’s something that we work on all the time — getting back into good field goal position,” coach Joe Gibbs said. “We wound up losing an opportunity.”

Clinton Portis was stopped for no gain on second-and-14, and Mark Brunell threw incomplete on third down. That forced John Hall to attempt and miss what would have been a game-winning 52-yard field goal with 30 seconds remaining.

“Casey made a ton of plays for us, and you hate that the focus is on something like the penalty,” said Gibbs, who didn’t object to the call.

Before watching the play on video yesterday, Rabach said, “I didn’t think it was [a penalty]. We were both hustling — I was hustling to cut him off, and he was hustling to make a play. We got kind of tangled up, and I fell onto the back of him. I don’t know if I grabbed him or not.”

Rabach said his heart “dropped” when he saw the flag thrown in his direction.

“We’ve practiced that play 100 times,” he said. “We were in field goal range, and it kills you when something like that happens. … It was a basic play. But a bad thing obviously happened.”

Rabach, who had two holding penalties in the game, is tied with left guard Derrick Dockery for the most such calls on the team with five. Dockery leads the Redskins’ line with six total infractions. Right tackle Jon Jansen and right guard Randy Thomas have only one penalty (both false starts) apiece this season.

Salave’a doubtful

Joe Salave’a tore the plantar fascia in his foot against San Diego, and director of sports medicine Bubba Tyer said the defensive tackle is doubtful for the St. Louis game. Salave’a has battled a foot problem for the last month but has yet to miss a game.

Receiver James Thrash (hamstring), who did not play against San Diego, has been ruled out for Sunday.

Running back Ladell Betts (knee) is likely to miss a third straight game.

“It’s definitely getting stronger because I can walk fine now,” he said. “But it’s the [same] story until I try to plant and cut on it.”

H-back Mike Sellers (rib) intends to return against St. Louis after missing the Chargers game.

Jacobs catches on

Taylor Jacobs got his first start of the season against San Diego and had four catches for 44 yards. His two biggest catches were a 17-yard play on third-and-8 and a 13-yard reception on third-and-12 that kept drives alive and set up two Redskins touchdowns.

“For me, [Oakland] was like my first preseason game because I saw consistent action down after down,” Jacobs said. “Every week I feel I’m going to get better.

“In pressure situations like third down and my number is called, before I might be jittery but now they’re expecting me to do something, so I’m trying to play more relaxed and with more confidence.”

Jacobs sustained a dislocated big toe in the Redskins’ scrimmage against Baltimore on Aug. 6 and missed the entire preseason. He said the toe is still painful and if it weren’t for a special orthotic device, he might not be able to play. That was news to Gibbs, who said Jacobs is 100 percent.

Moss on record pace

Santana Moss’ 65 receiving yards against San Diego put him over 1,000 yards (1,053) for the second time in his five-year career. He had 1,105 yards in 2003 for the New York Jets.

If he keeps his current pace — 5.7 receptions and 95.7 yards a game — Moss will finish with 92 catches for a team-record 1,532 yards. Art Monk holds the team single-season record for catches with 106 in 1984, and Bobby Mitchell had 1,436 yards in 1963.

Cowboys sign Barrow

Linebacker Mike Barrow, who spent all of 2004 with the Redskins but didn’t play in a game because of injury, signed with Dallas last weekend. Barrow takes over the roster spot vacated by Dat Nguyen, who was placed on injured reserve because of a neck injury.

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