- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 20, 2013

Washington Redskins linebacker Brian Orakpo is not exactly known for his hands. In his first 54 NFL games, he had yet to make an interception.

That changed in a big way in the second quarter of Sunday’s 45-41 victory over the Chicago Bears. Orakpo took his first career interception 29 yards into the end zone to break a 10-10 tie at 13:38 of the second.

It was Orakpo’s first career touchdown, too. And while the Redskins gave that back on a punt return by Bears special teams ace Devin Hester later in the quarter, it still set the tone defensively. At least during a solid first half.

“I didn’t know what to do when I got to the end zone,” Orakpo joked afterwards. “It was a phenomenal feeling. I’ve been trying to get my Ryan Kerrigan on with all the picks he’s got. And Rob Jackson. Trying to catch up a little bit.”

Orakpo was referring to his fellow linebackers, who have made a habit of similar plays the past few seasons. Orakpo did receive a little help on the throw from Chicago quarterback Jay Cutler.

Teammate Reed Doughty was covering Bears wide receiver Alshon Jeffery and helped break up the pass. The ball tipped into the air and Orakpo snatched it and took off down the right sideline. He went into the end zone untouched. Nose tackle Barry Cofield also helped force a throw from Cutler with pressure up the middle.

“I thought it was a hold and then the back picked me up,” Cofield said. “But if you’re able to get in the quarterback’s face it makes his life more difficult and [Orakpo] made a great play tracking that ball. … His first one since maybe Pee-Wee when he snuck one in. He’s definitely not known for his hands.”

That’s not far from the truth. Orakpo said he has actually never scored a touchdown or had an interception at any level. Not middle school, when he first started playing football, high school, college or the NFL. It was a good time for one.

Cutler knocked out early

The Bears were without Cutler for most of the final three quarters of Sunday’s game.

Cutler was hurt with 10:09 left in the second quarter when he was sacked by Washington defensive lineman Chris Baker and rolled over on the turf twice. He left the game with what was called a groin injury. It was Baker’s first career sack.

“It felt great to get your first sack,” Baker said. “I was disappointed that [Cutler] got hurt. It also felt good that you took someone out, but you never want someone to get hurt.”

Josh McCown, an eight-year NFL veteran, came into the game for the Bears, who had just 28 passing yards in the first half. McCown had not taken a snap in a regular-season NFL game since 2011 with Chicago, yet engineered four scoring drives in the second half, three of them for touchdowns. Baker claimed that McCown’s scrambling ability didn’t change much defensively for Washington given that Cutler can use his legs, too. But the results were certainly better.

“That’s not the first time that’s happened to me. That’s happened a couple of times in my career where the back-up comes in and he sparks the team, plays well,” Cofield said. “You can’t let your guard down. … You’ve got to keep playing your best football. And, obviously, we missed some tackles and we didn’t play our best in the second half and he made us pay.”

Doughty suffers concussion

Injury updates for the Redskins included Doughty, the starting strong safety and special teams ace. He suffered a concussion on the unsuccessful onside kick attempt by the Bears midway through the fourth quarter. Well, it actually was successful. It was just called back because of an offside penalty. But Doughty was a casualty on the play. He was not allowed to speak with reporters after the game.

Defensive end Stephen Bowen, meanwhile, left the game in the third quarter with a right knee injury. He did not return to the game, either.

Watching from afar

Injured players still watch the games. Redskins long snapper Nick Sundberg, who underwent surgery this week to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee suffered last Sunday at Dallas, used his official Twitter account, @NickSundberg, to weigh in on Washington’s struggling kick return game. “Still can’t get it to the 20… Weird.”

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