If you throw the ball anywhere near Dallas Cowboys cornerback DaRon Bland, you’d better make sure he doesn’t get his hands on it. Because if he does, odds are, Bland will return that ball for six points.
The latest example of Bland’s special gift for point-scoring thievery came with 13:58 left in the fourth quarter, when Carolina Panthers quarterback Bryce Young decided to test Bland on a throw to receiver Jonathan Mingo.
6th interception of the year.
4th pick-6 of the year (t-most ever in a season)
Daron Bland. Lockdown. pic.twitter.com/m0ByCbbFg8
— NFL (@NFL) November 19, 2023
That tied Bland for the all-time lead in pick-sixes in a pro football season, along with Eric Allen of the Philadelphia Eagles (1993), Jim Kearney of the Kansas City Chiefs (1972), and Ken Houston of the Houston Oilers (1971). Bland is also now tied for the league lead in interceptions this season with Geno Stone of the Baltimore Ravens.
Bland’s first pick-six of the season came in Week 1 against the New York Giants, when he got hold of a ball that was tipped in the air from Daniel Jones to Saquon Barkley after cornerback Trevin Diggs lowered the boom.
Then, in Week 4 against the New England Patriots, Bland took this Mac Jones pass to Kendrick Bourne to the house.
Not bad for a guy drafted in the fifth round of the 2022 draft out of Fresno State. And Bland isn’t just about interceptions — coming into the Panthers game, he had allowed 21 catches on 43 targets for 226 yards, 60 yards after the catch, one touchdown, those five picks, six pass breakups, and an opponent passer rating of 32.8.