Heyer's return home marred by another Redskins loss

ATLANTA -- It wasn't the kind of homecoming that Brookwood's Stephon Heyer was hoping for as an NFL starter Sunday.

Not only did the Falcons beat Washington 31-17, but Heyer and his fellow offensive linemen gave up a record-tying five sacks by Atlanta in the first half at the Georgia Dome.

At least none of the sacks came directly over the Redskins left tackle, who went all the way despite adding a sore knee to his already tender ankle.

Washington has suffered injury after injury, forcing massive changes along the line. That was certainly evident against the Falcons.

"Everybody's just got to know where you're supposed to be," said Heyer, a Brookwood grad. "That was the case and the situation a couple of times in our first half. A lot of people were missing assignments and just weren't on the same page."

The Redskins' offensive linemen were able to be on the same page after halftime, but by then the damage was done. Ahead 24-3, the Falcons were able to easily hang on for the victory and snap a two-game losing streak.

Atlanta (5-3) is unbeaten at home this season and 10-1 since Mike Smith took over as coach. Unfortunately, the Falcons have to go back on the road again to Carolina and the New York Giants before playing three straight games at the Georgia Dome.

Washington (2-6) has struggled at home and on the road this season, its losing streak at four after falling to the Falcons. The Redskins haven't scored more than 17 points in any game this year and their usually strong defense sprung a leak against Atlanta.

Michael Turner rushed for 166 yards against Washington and was barely touched on touchdowns of 30 and 58 yards. Matt Ryan didn't have a great day throwing the ball, but it didn't matter with the Redskins unable to stop the run.

Unable to block the Falcons, Washington couldn't get anything going on the ground or in the air until Atlanta had built a substantial lead.

Atlanta scored on its first possession for the third consecutive game, then made it 14-0 late in the second quarter on a 62-yard interception return by Tye Hill off a tipped ball. Turner scored his first TD late in the second quarter and Jason Elam booted a 33-yard field goal on the last play before halftime.

Veteran kicker Elam, who has struggled recently, had a perfect day. The same couldn't be said for another Brookwood graduate.

Heyer, a third-year player who went undrafted out of Maryland, had to move from right tackle to left tackle last month after Chris Samuels was lost for the season, joining guard Randy Thomas. Mike Williams, who replaced Heyer at right tackle, hurt an ankle against the Falcons.

After quarterback Jason Campbell was shaken up on the final sack in the first half, offensive line coach Joe Bugel lit into his players at halftime. The result? No sacks in the second half.

"A lot of guys were just (angry) and came out fighting," Heyer said.