Eli Manning was first.
Michael Vick’s next,
Orakpo finally earned his first NFC East full sack in last Sunday’s 23-10 victory over the New York Giants.
He had played in 17 divisional games in his first three seasons in the league and only posted a half-sack. Until he sacked Manning in the fourth quarter on Sunday, he had 25 sacks against non-NFC East opponents.
Orakpo admitted it was surprising – and a little frustrating.
“At first I wasn’t worried about it but as I realized I had not sacked a division opponent – I had a half-sack but I don’t count that – it was good to get the monkey off my back,” he said.
Orakpo had come close many times. Most famously, in the 2010 season opener against the Dallas Cowboys, he was held by right tackle Alex Barron on the last play of the game, allowing Romo to throw a potential game-winning touchdown pass. Instead, referees tossed a flag and the penalty nullified the score, giving the Redskins a 13-7 victory.
“I don’t know what it was, either a holding or the quarterback got away – all kinds of situations and scenarios,” Orakpo said. “Now that I have one, hopefully I can get more.”
Orakpo’s next opportunity to sack an NFC East quarterback is in fact Vick. The Redskins close out the regular season in two weeks against Vick and the Philadelphia Eagles.
Orakpo is second on the defense with seven sacks this season. He went through a midseason stretch where he had just a half-sack in five games.
Still, Orakpo was among the league leaders in Pro Bowl fan voting at his position.
He is not concerning himself with earning a third consecutive Pro Bowl nod, though.
“I could care less. I love the respect from the fans, the players, the coaches – especially the fans,” Orakpo said. “But I want to go to the postseason so bad. I’ve been there done that with the Pro Bowls. I’ll represent my Redskins team to the fullest, but I want to play in the postseason.”
That opportunity will have to wait until 2012.