clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

DaRon Bland sets NFL record with fifth INT returned for TD this season

DaRon Bland belongs in Defensive Player of the Year conversations.

Washington Commanders v Dallas Cowboys Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

The Dallas Cowboys’ DaRon Bland had already established himself as one of the most dangerous cornerbacks in football before Thanksgiving. Now his name is in the NFL record books after returning another interception for a touchdown, giving him five this season after just 11 games.

With Dallas already holding a commanding fourth-quarter lead over Washington, Bland jumped Sam Howell’s pass to Jahan Dotson and took it 63 yards for the record-breaking score. He’d been tied with retired defensive backs Eric Allen, Jim Kearny, and Ken Houston after last week’s pick-six against the Panthers.

Numerous teammates joined Bland at the Salvation Army kettle to celebrate his big moment. The Cowboys even had to call a timeout to avoid a delay-of-game penalty on the ensuing extra-point attempt.

Not only did Bland set the new single-season mark for the NFL, but he also became Dallas’ franchise leader for interceptions returned for touchdowns. He still has a ways to go to catch the all-time leader, Rod Woodson, who had 12 during his Hall of Fame career. But to already have five midway through his second season is an excellent start.

Just a fifth-round pick in the 2022 draft, Bland has become one of the most exciting and valuable players on the Cowboys’ defense. Originally the slot corner to start the season, he had to move outside in Week 3 after Trevon Diggs’ injury. Now he’s proving to be every bit the star that Diggs was; a stunning development that’s allowed Dallas to maintain its defensive prowess.

Even without the touchdowns, Bland’s seven interceptions so far in 2023 put him in the conversation for Defensive Player of the Year. He’s now passed Ravens safety Geno Stone for the league lead. But the five scores easily vault Bland over all other defensive backs as a DPOY candidate.

The one thing we haven’t seen yet is Bland making one of these plays against a top team. Like the Cowboys in general, he’s been bullying the lesser teams and quarterbacks on the schedule. Hopefully, with a tougher stretch ahead starting next Thursday against Seattle, Bland can make some game-changing plays that help Dallas accomplish its team goals. He has six more games to try and add to his record.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Blogging The Boys Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your Dallas Cowboys news from Blogging The Boys