GLENDALE, Ariz. – Orlando Scandrick was defiant about his game-altering penalty. Jerry Jones didn’t want to hear it.
Scandrick was flagged twice Sunday for an illegal block in the back on a punt return. The second infraction was especially harmful, negating Dez Bryant’s 35-yard return and costing the Cowboys 43 yards of field position before the final drive of regulation.
On both penalties, Scandrick raised both hands in the air, an unsuccessful attempt to convince the officials that he didn’t commit an infraction. He believes that he pulled up on both plays, insisting that any contact was incidental.
“What am I supposed to do?” Scandrick said. “Next time I’ll just turn around and stop.”
That doesn’t cut it with the man who signs Scandrick’s checks.
“You can’t touch people in the back,” Jones said. “That’s got to be coached. You cannot touch people in the back on kicking. And I’m not being critical of anybody. I’m just … the call was a good call. He hit him in the back.”
In this case, it prevented a significant strategic move from paying off big for the Cowboys.
This was the first time Bryant served as the team’s primary punt returner since Miles Austin strained his hamstring in the Nov. 6 win over the Seahawks. Bryant’s last return would have set the Cowboys up for the win if not for Scandrick’s penalty.
“I felt great back there,” Bryant said. “On the last one, I thought it was going to hit. I just told [Kevin Ogletree] to get his guy and we were going to be off to the races.”
Bryant was right, but it didn’t matter because of the flags behind him.