LANDOVER, Md. -- The Dallas Cowboys' best coaching adjustment Sunday was made by a cornerback.
Orlando Scandrick had seen enough of ill teammate Brandon Carr being overmatched by Washington Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon, who caught 11 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. Scandrick took matters into his own hands during the fourth quarter.
“Honestly, I just took him,” Scandrick said. “We had to get a stop and I knew they were going to go to him.”
Scandrick, who vowed this week to find a way to bounce back from back-to-back bad performances, came up with the Cowboys' biggest play of the game. With the Cowboys trailing by six, Scandrick blanketed Garcon on a third-and-6 crossing route, breaking up Kirk Cousins' pass to force the Redskins to punt with 3:47 remaining.
That gave Tony Romo and the offense the opportunity to drive 87 yards for the game-winning touchdown.
Once Scandrick saw Washington's formation, he knew the route that Garcon was going to run, based on his film study. Scandrick said it was the third time the Redskins ran that play Sunday.
“If you watch the tape, you'll see I played it a little bit low and I undercut,” Scandrick said. “Honestly, I didn't think he would throw it, but he did.”
Cousins was 11-of-15 throwing to Garcon before the Redskins' last two possessions. He targeted Garcon on three incompletions during those series.
The coaches didn't say anything to Scandrick about his decision to switch the assignments, he said. Carr got the best of Garcon in the Cowboys' Oct. 13 win over the Redskins, but that individual battle was about as lopsided as could be in the rematch after Carr didn't practice on Thursday and Friday because of an illness.
“They got enough faith in me,” Scandrick said. “That's a great matchup for [Carr]. It just wasn't his day. Not making any excuses for him, but he was sick. He was dragging. He's getting IVs before the game. He looked out of it.”
Asked if Scandrick has the authority to change coverage assignments, defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin said, “It just depends. It depends on the situation, what coverage you're in. There's a lot of things that go into that type of deal.”
It's a good thing Scandrick made the switch Sunday. It's a wonder it didn't happen a lot earlier in the game.