Don’t look now, but the No. 1 player on the touchdown list for this year’s Cowboys is wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, with five. Tied for No. 2 is tight end Jake Ferguson and … defensive back DaRon Bland. Yes, that is right, Daron Bland is second among Dallas players in touchdowns.
Informed of that stat on Sunday, after he scored on his fourth pick-6 of the season, Bland told reporters, “Crazy to think about.”
Crazy indeed, especially because, just 11 weeks into the NFL season, Bland finds himself already in the record books, tied for the most pick-6 interceptions in one season in league history. Daron Bland’s name is now on a list that includes Eric Allen of the Eagles (1993), Jim Kearney of the Chiefs (1972) and Ken Houston of the Houston Oilers (1971).
But first, he is on the hunt for the NFL record of five pick-6 interceptions.
“It just makes another goal to break it,” he said about the record. “I think it was when I touched the end zone, it was like, ‘Wow, I just did it. I tied the record.’ But now, my mindset is, I’m level-headed now and I am trying to go break it.”
Daron Bland Rated No. 1 Corner in NFL
Bland leads the league in total interceptions with six, and he currently sits with a Pro Football Focus grade of 91.1 this season, the best in the NFL among cornerbacks. His performance this year has taken the sting out of losing Trevon Diggs to a season-ending knee injury.
The record-tying pick came on a fourth-quarter first-down pass from Panthers quarterback Bryce Young, with the Cowboys ahead, 24-10. Bland was guarding receiver Jonathan Mingo. Bland said Mingo was ahead of him, which might explain why Young—who had mostly avoided throwing his way all day, creating a sort of Daron Bland island—took a chance.
“I seen him running the under and he kinda had a step on me at first,” Bland explained. “I had to catch up, and once I caught up, I turned, I seen the ball and I was like, ‘Yesss.’ I was like, I got to go get this one. Because I only had like three targets so I had to make the most of my opportunities.”
Pick-6 No. 4 Ranks at the Top
Of all the interceptions returned for touchdowns by Bland this year, he said the one against Carolina was the best, mostly because he had to do some serious running to make it happen.
Bland made a diving pick at the Cowboys 30-yard line, and rolled after securing the ball. It took a moment for him to realize he had not been touched when he went down, and that he was holding a live ball. So he did what Daron Bland does best this season: He headed for the end zone.
“Having to actually run the ball, having to actually make some moves, actually getting up like that,” Bland said, explaining why it was the toughest of his pick-6 plays. “You don’t usually really get to return like that.”
And you don’t usually get to land in the history books. But now, “Daron Bland, Cowboys,” will be there.
“It wasn’t really about the record. It’s really about being in the history books, being remembered,” he said.