What happens when you unleash a 6-4, 257-pound linebacker who loves to feast on his favorite dish of quarterback on a silver and black target that doesn’t blend in with the surroundings?
Now in his fifth year with the Washington Redskins, Brian Orakpo is as terrorizing as ever. In practice his legendary wildman work ethic gets even Mike Shanahan to crack a smile, ramping up the intensity and refusing to take a lackadaisical approach to the game he’s loved ever since his first Pop Warner snap.
Through recreational leagues, grade school and the University of Texas, he’s had some memorable games, but none quite like the one he had on December 13th, 2009 against the Oakland Raiders.
Sunday, the two-time Pro Bowler will return to the same place, sans an all grass field this go-round, where he mowed through Oakland to a career day.
In a less than holiday festive atmosphere, Raiders faithful were none too happy to be standing outside on a cold and rainy mid-December afternoon for fear their face paint might be washed off. And maybe because the teams had a combined seven wins, but I pick the face pain part.
The Redskins entered the game mired in a three-game losing streak with few expecting them to escape the black hole with a victory.
What they forgot to equate into their pregame predictions though, was how badly Orakpo hates losing.
Whether it was Bruce Gradkowski or JaMarcus Russell, neither could elude No. 98’s determination to walk out of the O.co Coliseum a winner.
By the middle of the fourth quarter, Orakpo had just registered his fourth sack of the day, a forced fumble and recovery; sealing the first victory of the month.
“It was a great game,” Orakpo said. “Because it was a time [during] the season where we were losing a bunch of games, but [it] was another game a lot of people probably thought we were going to lose. We just went in there with the mindset of look we’re going to play with a lot of drive and a lot of intensity and we were able to get after it.
“It was one of my best games, a four sack game, and I have some very good memories from that game my rookie year.”
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