WASHINGTON -- Gary Clark wasn't just thinking about football yesterday.
"I had a lot on my mind because my grandfather [Harry Clark] died last weekend," Clark said. "He was a really good man, and I have a lot of respect for him. I kind of wanted to play well for my grandmother because she's going through a hard time right now."
Clark was close to his grandparents because he lived with them in Dublin, Va., from the sixth grade through high school.
"I think I was a little tense going into the game. I just kept thinking of a man I respect a lot. Basically, I owe it to my grandfather. If I'm half the man he was, I'd be a great human being. He was hell of a guy," he said.
Clark dropped two passes early and missed another one in the end zone when "the goal post flashed in front of me" and he pulled up.
But he came back to catch four passes for 203 yards and three touchdowns. He did it despite a hamstring injury that gave him trouble in the second half.
"I didn't think I had another 200-yard game in me," Clark said with a smile.
He had a 241-yard day against the New York Giants in 1986, a non-strike record for the team.
On overcoming the hamstring problem on the last touchdown catch, he said, "I was taught a long time ago that you have to play this game with a little pain."
* Running back Earnest Byner's knee sprain will be examined by doctors today.
"Sometimes it's just a knee sprain, and sometimes these things can have something that can add to the problem," coach Joe Gibbs said.
Last week, offensive linemen Jim Lachey and Joe Jacoby suffered knee sprains. Jacoby could play yesterday and Lachey couldn't, so they'll have to wait to see how serious Byner's injury was.
If Byner can't play, rookie Ricky Ervins figures to get his first start. Byner and Ervins had trouble running because the Falcons played so many players up close. Byner had 33 yards in 12 carries and Ervins 39 in 16 carries. Gerald Riggs had 29 yards in six carries, but had a 29-yard run.
The Redskins also are concerned about the ankle of tight end Ron Middleton, who left the stadium on crutches.
* Kelly Goodburn never had had a punt blocked in his NFL career until yesterday, when the Falcons blocked two.
"They came out of the blue," Goodburn said of the Falcons on the two plays. "Give them credit. They must have seen something in the protection."
The Redskins obviously will be looking at their protection this week.
* The Redskins have been hiding cornerback Martin Mayhew all season, but he was beaten on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Billy Joe Tolliver to Michael Haynes early in the third period.
It wasn't all his fault, though, because safety Danny Copeland knocked him out of the play as Haynes caught the ball.
Copeland said: "That was my mistake all the way. I just took a bad angle. If I hadn't knocked Martin off, he probably would have made the tackle."
Mayhew said, "I'm glad it happened in a game when we scored 56 points."
Copeland also took the blame on Tolliver's 15-yard touchdown pass to Andre Rison in the third quarter. "The guy gave me a move, and I bit on it," he said.
* As expected, linebacker Matt Millen didn't see much action in the Redskins defense against the run-and-shoot. He got in for just one short-yardage play in the third period.
"They threw and I ran over to [Falcons coach Jerry] Glanville and said: 'Jerry, I'm in for one play and you threw the ball. What's
wrong with you?' And Jerry started laughing," he said.