Thursday Night Football was a shootout. The Seattle Seahawks fell, 41-35, to the Dallas Cowboys thanks to a late-game series of defensive stops.
DaRon Bland’s Rough First Half
Bland, who leads the NFL with five pick-sixes in 2023, has been on the short end of the stick when it comes to the offensive explosion in the first half. He has been targeted six times, allowing five receptions for 137 yards and one touchdown. That is the most yards allowed in the first half of a game by any cornerback this season.
The first of his woes came just under eight minutes into the game. Metcalf ran a post against Bland, caught it, and took it 73 yards to the house.
DK METCALF TO THE 🏠
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 1, 2023
Bland was named Defensive Player of the Month in November, and announcer Al Michaels mentioned it amidst the down performance. “So DaRon Bland just got Defensive Player of the Month for November, but obviously, the voters didn’t count November 30,” said Michaels.
Bland was also responsible for a key defensive pass interference just before the end of the first half. He grabbed rookie Jaxon Smith-Njigba while in the end zone, putting the Seahawks at the 1-yard line. Seattle scored not long after, giving them the halftime lead.
“DaRon Bland is getting cooked,” said one NFL fan on X, formerly known as Twitter. “I think Trevon Diggs and DaRon Bland just proved why INTs are the most irrelevant stat for a corner,” said another fan.
At halftime, former NFL star Richard Sherman, who was with the Seahawks for seven seasons from 2011-2017, dove into Bland’s half.
“I saw aggressiveness, but I saw Seattle take advantage of his inside leverage,” said Sherman.
Coming out of the half, head coach Mike McCarthy was asked about Bland’s first-half performance and what the team needed to do in the second half. He didn’t respond in reference to Bland but did say the defense needed to play better.
“Death, taxes and a DaRon Bland interception are all inevitable,” said another NFL fan. The interception marked Bland’s eighth of the season, five of which were returned for a touchdown.
Bland’s Bounce Back
The second half was a different story for Bland. Although he struggled in the first half, he responded quickly with an interception of Geno Smith. The interception came with just over three minutes left in the third quarter and put Dallas at the Seattle 38-yard line.
DaRon Bland heard the halftime chatter
— PFF (@PFF) December 1, 2023
Bland was targeted later in the fourth quarte as well, where he dropped a potentially game-sealing interception. Dallas went on to win the game thanks to his improved second-half.
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