Jon Jansen had never experienced anything like it in 10 years of playing for the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field.
“We’ve never had to go silent snap count at home,” the offensive tackle said, marveling at the number of rowdy Pittsburgh Steelers fans in the crowd of 90,512 on Monday.
Coach Jim Zorn agreed it was unusual for the offensive players to have a hard time hearing the count in a non-shotgun situation at home, but he didn’t use it as an excuse for his team’s 23-6 loss.
“They forced us to throw faster than we needed to,” Zorn said of the Steelers’ relentless pass rush. “It was noisy, but that’s just part of the game.”
The silent count didn’t help. The Redskins allowed seven sacks, the most they have surrendered since a 43-27 home loss to the New Orleans Saints in 2002. Reserve running back Rock Cartwright and backup tight end Todd Yoder whiffed on blocks, but the offensive line took most of the blame.
“Give credit where credit’s due,” center Casey Rabach said. “They can rush the passer. They put us in the second half in a passing mode to catch up. Any time you’re predictable, it’s even tougher to pick up the pass rush. Any time your quarterback takes a beating like [Jason Campbell] did, that’s on us.”
The failure of the coach-to-quarterback communication system made the night even worse for the passing game. Campbell said the helmet communication device was out almost the entire fourth quarter.
Springs vows to return
Cornerback Shawn Springs, who missed the past four games with a strained calf, said there’s “no doubt” he will be back for the Redskins’ next game, a Nov. 16 rematch with the Dallas Cowboys.
Defensive end Jason Taylor, sidelined for three of the past six games by a calf injury, was less sure about his status.
“The doctors say that rest is the best thing for it, so I’m not going to do much during the bye week,” Taylor said. “We’ll see how it is when we get back to work.”
Receiver Santana Moss, who didn’t practice last week because of a tender hamstring, played against the Steelers and emerged without further damage.
“It didn’t get worse,” Moss said. “It pretty much held up, so that’s a good thing.”
Likewise, left tackle Chris Samuels didn’t aggravate the sprained right knee that left his status for the Steelers game in question until 90 minutes before kickoff.
Reserve defensive tackle Anthony Montgomery wore a walking boot on his right foot for a strained Achilles suffered Monday when teammate Rocky McIntosh fell on him. Strongside linebacker Marcus Washington strained a rotator cuff, and defensive tackle Lorenzo Alexander sprained a shoulder, but Zorn didn’t question their availability for Dallas.
Evans shines in loss
Demetric Evans delivered a career game starting in place of the injured Taylor, an effort lost in the midst of the ugly defeat.
The seventh-year defensive end, who had recorded 10 1/2 sacks in 86 career games, registered 2 1/2 on Monday and, along with Andre Carter, deflected a pass that was intercepted by tackle Cornelius Griffin to set up a field goal.
As a team, the Redskins recorded five sacks, thanks in part to a decision to keep tackles Griffin, Montgomery and Kedric Golston inside on passing downs to provide more push up the middle.
“It was one of those games where the stage was set,” Evans said. “As a D-line, we wanted to go out and make plays. But stats are for losers. I’ll take being the No. 6 defense [in the league] and winning games any day. There are teams with 20 sacks that are 2-6.”