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Sunday's Win Chock-Full Of Redskins Firsts

Posted Oct 22, 2013

On top the team's first home win of the season, the Washington Redskins celebrated career firsts for Brian Orakpo, Jordan Reed, Roy Helu Jr. and Chris Baker.

Throughout Sunday's 45-41 comeback victory over the Chicago Bears, there were a number of firsts for members of the Washington Redskins with several franchise records set.

On offense, it was the coming-out party for rookie tight end Jordan Reed, who validated the belief the front office put in him with a high selection in last year's draft.

Not only did Reed set a personal high in receiving yards (134), he also smashed the team's rookie tight end receiving mark for a single game, set by Jerry Smith nearly 25 years before Reed was born.

Perhaps more important than personal marks is the fact that Reed was targeted a team-high nine times and caught all nine passes, including a difficult jump ball in the corner of the end zone for his second career touchdown.

Quarterback Robert Griffin III praised his young teammate's work ethic and quick adjustment to the Redskins' offense.

"He did spend whole offseason with me, so I definitely got to know him well," Griffin III said. "He is a hard worker, has great talent and like he said after the game, if he works and keeps making plays, I will continue to have more faith in him.

"He made some big plays for us today and can be a weapon."

Another player to tally a career-first on Sunday was Chris Baker, whose second quarter sack was his first since 2008 as a member of the Hampton University Pirates, nearly five years ago.

The one-time college free agent and journeyman defensive lineman has found a home in Washington, contributing as a starting and reserve defensive end as well as nose tackle.

Breaking through for his first sack was just validation of the work he has put in to succeed.

“I worked my butt off all week, and I talked to my position coaches and said I just want to get better each week," he said. "I’ve been getting a lot more snaps each week and I’ve been able to take advantage of my snaps.”

Linebacker Brian Orakpo followed suit by recording the first interception of his life, which he turned into his his first at any level of football.

”Never scored actually, never scored middle school, high school, college or in the pros. It was a crazy feeling," he said with a broad smile. "I was so excited that I didn’t know what to do once I got in the end zone. It was a phenomenal feeling.

"I’ve been preaching that I’m trying to get my 'Ryan Kerrigan' on, with all the picks he’s got – and [linebacker] Rob Jackson. I’m trying to catch up a little bit.”

Third year running back Roy Helu Jr. is a little more familiar with scoring, but Sunday’s game was the first time Helu scored multiple touchdowns in the same game.

In fact, he finished the day with three.

Helu Jr. missed most of last season with Achilles' tendon and other lower leg issues. Now back and fully healthy, he is providing the other half of a potent one-two punch with running back Alfred Morris.

“I just go back to [the fact that] I wasn’t playing last season, so to be a part of something bigger than myself with this organization – I’ll take whatever role I can," he said. "Today, it just happened to be more of a red zone role because we were running more turbo."

The Redskins, as a team, also recorded some interesting first-time statistics.

Under head coach Mike Shanahan, Sunday’s game was the first time the Redskins scored 45 points. It was also the first time the Redskins had a lead at half time all season. 

Lastly and most importantly, Sunday’s game was the Redskins first win at home this season.

Head coach Mike Shanahan spoke about the win and how the players responded down three points with under four minuets to go in the fourth quarter.

“We had to make some plays. I think everyone kept their composure for the most part. That’s what you’re hoping to do," he explained. "You’re hoping to make the plays that we made. The guys believe in themselves.

"Collectively, we have to work as a unit to get it done like we did in that fourth quarter."

From here, the Redskins look to build their first winning streak of the season with a tough road game in Denver.

“I think every game is big, but we sure need it after being 1-4," Shanahan said. "You don’t want to dig yourself a bigger hole than you’ve already done. To have this win, and to do it [Sunday] the way we did is a testament to our players."

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