Given Opportunity, Lorenzo Alexander Shines With Spotlight On
LANDOVER, Md. – Lorenzo Alexander stepped under the bright lights for a postgame press conference Sunday night and chuckled.
“First opportunity to talk to you guys in here in six years,” Alexander said. “I guess special teams doesn’t count, but I’ll take it after that defensive game.”
Alexander took part in two sacks and officially recovered a fumble in the Washington Redskins’ 38-26 victory over Minnesota at FedEx Field.
Lacking a strong pass rush over the previous four games, the Redskins were looking for an opportunity to pressure Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder. Alexander and rookie Keenan Robinson were scheduled to alternate in obvious passing situations, replacing outside linebackers Rob Jackson and Chris Wilson, but Alexander forced the coaches to keep him on the field.
He finished with five total tackles, including one for a loss, and hit the quarterback four times.
Linebacker Perry Riley appeared to have pushed Vikings running back Adrian Peterson into Ponder as he tried to throw the ball in the second quarter, and the ball squirted out of Ponder’s hand. It floated toward Alexander, whose recovery of the fumble set up a six-yard touchdown reception by fullback Darrel Young on the very next play.
Alexander then joined defensive end Stephen Bowen in sacking Ponder on the next drive, which forced Minnesota to punt and led to the Redskins taking a knee to head to halftime, and also dragged Ponder down for a nine-yard loss on the Vikings’ final possession.
“That’s what we expect out of Zo,” linebacker Ryan Kerrigan said. “He’s a guy that’s known for his special teams play, but he really came in and executed what he needed to do very well. The stats show that.”
Alexander has played sparingly on defense over the past two seasons, moving from starting at outside linebacker in 2010 to playing as Ryan Kerrigan’s backup last season to sliding inside during the spring.
“I understand what my role on this team is – to be a special teams demon and be a captain and to fill in on defense when need be and to just take advantage of my opportunities,” Alexander said. “I think the coaches are able to utilize some of my history, as far as playing D-tackle and some of our games today and pass rushing. It was a great feeling to finally go out there and contribute on defense in a win.”