ATLANTA, SEPT. 20 -- "Fire!" kicker Ali Haji-Sheikh yelled as soon as he saw Jeff Bostic's extra-point snap bounce in front of holder Eric Yarber in the third quarter this afternoon. It's not a word holders like to hear. It's a well-known signal that means the placement kick is not going to take place. It means things have gone awry.

Yarber picked up the ball and ran with it for a second or so, until he was trapped and downed. There still were 1 1/2 quarters to be played, and the Washington Redskins led the Falcons, 13-7. But probably because they did not get that extra point, they lost, 21-20.

Bostic, the Redskins' long-snapper for years, later was replaced by Darryl Grant and said he felt he had let his team down.

"I guess the only thing to say is I need to go back and work more on it," Bostic said of three bad snaps, two on field goal tries, the last on the extra point. "Obviously, I've got a problem . . . I don't have any fear of snapping. I think the thing I've got to do is relax and do {my} own job."

Bostic said he "was trying to do too much" with a new kicker and holder on the team. Two of his snaps were on the ground and the third was over Yarber's shoulder. On the two field goal attempts, the bad snaps slowed a finely tuned sequence by a split second, which was enough to allow Atlanta's blockers to get close enough to Haji-Sheikh to run into him and knock him down, said Washington special teams coach Chuck Banker.

"The operation would have been okay had we been on time," Banker said. Added Haji-Sheikh: "If the operation works as it should, the guy on the end {who ran into the kicker} is incidental."

Haji-Sheikh, who is not used to finishing kicks on his back, said there were no problems with the snaps in practice this week.

"Jeff's done a real good job all week," Haji-Sheikh said. "Sometimes kickers miss or the center has an off day. You're dealing with human beings. We're not machines. I know Jeff is a good snapper. Maybe he was just pressing a little with a new holder and kicker."

Coach Joe Gibbs seemed perplexed about the problem. Bostic had a few bad snaps in preseason, but Gibbs never spoke to him about it, Gibbs said. Now, depending on what happens with a players strike, Gibbs has been forced to give a long, hard look to his long-snapping situation. The Redskins have gone through four kickers in less than a year and three holders in less than two years. Bostic has been the only constant throughout all this change.

The Falcons were aware the Redskins had a new kicker and holder, especially the former. Haji-Sheikh was Atlanta's kicker last season and was cut this preseason before joining the Redskins this week.

"I don't think there was a real problem with their line," said Falcons defensive end Rick Bryan of the blocked and rushed kicks. "It was more of a problem between their snapper and their holder. {Jay} Schroeder had been their holder and they had a new kicker so that could cause problems, but that is the difference between winning and losing."