FRISCO, Texas – His 86-yard return of a blocked field goal is going to be remembered as one of Orlando Scandrick's career highlights.
Fantastic as that special teams play was, it'd be a disservice to Scandrick's game against the Redskins if that is all that gets remembered.
On top of that key play, Scandrick enjoyed one of the better games of what has been a solid 10-year career on Sunday evening in Landover, Md. To hear it from his coach, it was at the very least the best game of his 2017 campaign.
"He was around the ball -- certainly his best game of the year," said Cowboys coach Jason Garrett on Monday.
By the time Scandrick jogged off the rain-soaked field at FedEx Stadium, he had racked up eight tackles, two tackles for loss and two standout special teams plays in helping the Cowboys earn their 33-19 win.
"I'm so proud of our group, I'm so proud of our team and just the resolve that we had, the way that we practiced," Scandrick said. "It doesn't always show on Sundays with the results, but this team truly works hard. We truly care."
It was startling to see the way Scandrick and the Dallas defense seized control of this matchup – especially given the way things started.
On the Redskins' first four possessions of the first half Kirk Cousins hit the Cowboys' secondary for gains of 41, 14, 16, 26 and 26. The rest of the way, he had one completion of 25 yards in the third quarter – but no other pickups longer than 15 yards.
"I just think that we played a very, very poor first half," Scandrick said. "And we knew this Washington Redskin team was a first half team – they come out and they play everybody hard in the first half."
It certainly didn't look like a rough start for Scandrick, though. Moments after Ezekiel Elliott's game-opening fumble set the Redskins up on the Dallas 30-yard line, Scandrick made a third down stop of Ryan Grant to force a field goal.
"He made a lot of tackles, was around the ball a lot. He covered well," Garrett said.
The later stages brought more of the same. Scandrick blew up Chris Thompson in the backfield, a tackle for loss that stalled a Washington drive in the second quarter. He also downed Kirk Cousins on a fumbled snap.
From a position where it can be hard to affect the ball, Scandrick showed up – which is something he hopes to do more of going forward.
"I haven't been making a lot of plays," he said. I don't think I've been playing bad, but that's not up to my standards. But I don't judge the way that my stat line comes out to the way I play. I judge the way I do the small things, the intangibles."
Sunday was a successful day in both regards for Scandrick – splash plays and unseen successes. For a team going through a youth movement, it was a reminder that veterans reach that status for a reason.
"You've just got to keep playing. Nobody believes in me more than I believe in me, and nobody is harder on me more than me," Scandrick said. "I just raise the bar on myself. I know everybody wants to put me in the coffin, but don't put the dirt on it yet."