The Dallas Cowboys learned of Stuart Scott’s passing mere hours before taking the field for their playoff game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday, and their reaction was just as you might expect.
“I think we were all in shock,” Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick said on The Doug Gottlieb Show. “I grew up watching Stuart Scott. It’s just crazy that he’s not with us here anymore.”
Scott, the longtime sports broadcaster, had battled cancer for years. He was 49.
“It was just crazy,” Scandrick said. “The last time I seen Stuart, it was at the ESPY’s. He was battling through it. I knew he was kind of struggling with it, but you just had that feeling that he would make it through, that he wouldn’t let it defeat him (and) he would be all right.”
Unfortunately, he wasn’t, and unfortunately, the Cowboys had a game to play. Despite trailing 14-0 in the second quarter and 20-7 in the third, the Cowboys beat the Lions, 24-20.
“I feel like we came out a little bit uptight,” Scandrick said. “We made some mistakes in the beginning of the game that we normally wouldn’t make, and it just took us some time to settle down.”
For all the great plays in this game – a 51-yard touchdown reception by Golden Tate and a 76-yard touchdown reception by Terrance Williams, to name two – it seems all anyone wants to talk about is the reversed pass interference call on Anthony Hitchens midway through the fourth quarter.
“From what I’ve seen, I didn’t think Anthony Hitchens made contact with him,” Scandrick said, referring to Detroit tight end Brandon Pettigrew. “I think (Hitchens) did kind of face-guard, but in the NFL, face-guarding is not a (penalty). I think if Pettigrew jumps back into him and makes an attempt to catch the ball, then it’s pass interference. But he didn’t even make an attempt to catch the ball. He didn’t jump back into him. It was just like he didn’t really make an attempt, so I don’t think it was pass interference. If another ref had a better angle on it, it’s only right that they confer and get it together.”
The Cowboys marched 59 yards on their next drive, as Tony Romo found Williams for the game-winning score with 2:32 to go. After that, it was all on the defense, which didn’t say too much to each other before taking the field for the final possession.
“No discussion,” Scandrick said. “Let’s just go play. Let’s relax and play. I mean, they didn’t really drive the ball on us all game. I felt good. They didn’t have the ability to drive the ball for seven on us. They hadn’t shown the ability to do that for 59 minutes, and I knew there was no way they were going to do it in the last minute.”
Dallas forced a fumble to seal the deal and will now face Green Bay this Sunday at 1:05 p.m. ET. The Cowboys did not lose on the road this season, and the Packers did not lose at home.
Something’s got to give.
“It’s a damn good football team, man,” Scandrick said. “They got one of the best – if not the best – quarterback in the league, Jordy Nelson is one of the best receivers in the league, Randall Cobb is one of the most explosive inside receivers in the league. We got our work cut out for ourselves.”
Doug Gottlieb wondered if the Cowboys, having won a playoff game, are playing with house money. He wondered if there’s more pressure on the Packers since they’re playing at home.
“I don’t know, but I know we ain’t playing with house money,” Scandrick said. “We’re trying to go win a Super Bowl. Nothing about this is house money. You don’t play with house money until it’s over.”