DaRon Bland has rewritten the NFL record books and has been a crucial playmaker for the Dallas Cowboys defense, particularly after the loss of star defensive back Trevon Diggs earlier in the year.
The second-year has set an NFL record for pick-sixes in a season and has more touchdowns than some big-name wide receivers.
DaRon Bland’s Record-Breaking Touchdowns
Bland has made a habit of finding the end zone this season much more often than defensive players typically tend to. His season has been anything but typical thus far, with 48 tackles (36 solo), 13 pass breakups, and seven interceptions, including five returned for touchdowns.
Those five pick-sixes have Bland alone atop the NFL’s record books for the most interceptions returned for a touchdown in a season, one ahead of Eric Allen (1993), Ken Houston (1971), and Jim Kearney (1972), who had four apiece.
Bland’s tally of five trips to the end zone also has him ahead of notable NFL wide receivers DeAndre Hopkins (four), Justin Jefferson (three), and DK Metcalf (three) in touchdowns, among others. Bland’s seven interceptions this season have also more than doubled his career tally up to 12 after picking off five passes a season ago.
The first of his pick-sixes on the season came during the Cowboys’ 40-0 romp over the New York Giants in Week 1.
Giants quarterback Daniel Jones looked to his left for Saquon Barkley on a short 3rd-and-19 pass play, but a big hit by Diggs knocked the ball out of Barkley’s hands, up in the air, and into the waiting arms of Bland, who returned it 22 yards for a score to give Dallas a 16-0 lead late in the first quarter.
The second came during the Cowboys’ Week 4 win over the New England Patriots. Bland ran in front of Kendrick Bourne’s route late in the second quarter to pick off a Mac Jones pass attempt and return it 54 yards for a touchdown, setting Dallas’ halftime lead at 28-3 in an eventual 38-3 victory.
Bland made his third house call late in the first quarter of Dallas’ Week 6 victory over the Los Angeles Rams. He jumped a route run by Cooper Kupp and was right in position to haul in Matthew Stafford’s errant pass attempt and return it 30 yards to the end zone.
After pulling within one pick-six of tying the record with that play, Bland made quick work of tying and surpassing the record over the last two weeks.
He first made a rolling interception of a fourth-quarter pass attempt by Bryce Young in the Week 11 win over the Carolina Panthers before getting up untouched and returning it 30 yards to the end zone.
He then broke the record a week later after jumping a route to haul in a Sam Howell pass attempt and take it 63 yards to the house for the Cowboys’ final touchdown in a 45-10 win over the Washington Commanders last Thursday.
It’s all amounted to a record year for Bland, who still has time to add to his total with six regular-season games left, beginning Thursday night against the Seattle Seahawks.
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