Cowboys CB DaRon Bland breaks NFL single-season pick-six record with fifth of 2023 in Thanksgiving win - CBS Sports, Garrett Podell
It’s still only week 12 out of 18.
Losing Pro Bowl cornerback Trevon Diggs, whose 18 career interceptions since 2020 are tied for the second-most in the NFL, was a big blow for the Dallas Cowboys defense, but second-year cornerback DaRon Bland, a fifth-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, has seamlessly transitioned to playing outside corner in 2023. Bland recorded his fifth pick-six of the season on Thanksgiving Day, breaking the record the most in a season in NFL history in the Cowboys’ 45-10 blowout victory over the Washington Commanders.
Bland got a 63-yard interception return touchdown off Commanders quarterback Sam Howell’s pass that was intended for Jahan Dotson. The pick-six put the Cowboys up by 35 in the Week 12 contest.
The 24-year-old began his career as a fill-in at nickel cornerback for an injured Jourdan Lewis last season, and he hauled in five interceptions as a rookie in 2022, tied for the fifth-most in the entire NFL. Despite switching positions in 2023 to outside cornerback, Bland has played even better. He is actually playing like the best cornerback in the NFL right now. His 15.9 passer rating allowed entering Week 12 was the lowest in the NFL among players with 25 or more pass attempts thrown their way this season.
Dak’s jersey stayed pretty clean as the absence of a Washington pass rush really showed.
Cowboys carve up Washington’s defense: The Commanders caught a break on Dallas’s opening drive when quarterback Dak Prescott overthrew wide receivers CeeDee Lamb and Jalen Tolbert, both of whom were open, on separate deep shots. Prescott was sharper from then on, leading touchdown drives of 90, 75 and 75 yards on the Cowboys’ next three possessions. Prescott was 13-of-18 for 221 yards and two touchdowns in the first half, including a 31-yard scoring strike to wide receiver Brandin Cooks. He finished 22-of-32 for 331 yards and four touchdowns.
The Cowboys averaged 10.5 yards per play in the first half, with 15 of their 26 offensive snaps resulting in first downs. Prescott improved to 6-0 with 19 touchdowns and zero interceptions all-time in six home games against Washington. Cooks led Dallas with four catches for 72 yards, and CeeDee Lamb added four catches for 53 yards, including a touchdown in the fourth quarter.
Commanders’ pass rush disappears: After sacking Giants quarterback Tommy DeVito a season-high nine times a week ago, Washington’s depleted pass rush was a non-factor against the Cowboys. The Commanders finished without a sack for the second time in four games since trading Montez Sweat and Chase Young at the deadline. Prescott had plenty of time to find open receivers, and Dallas running back Tony Pollard finished with 13 carries for 79 yards.
Meanwhile, Howell was pressured often and sacked four times. Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons finally got to Howell in the fourth quarter for his 11th sack of the season. Washington relied more heavily than usual on its running game in the first half and enjoyed a seven-minute advantage in time of possession through two quarters but failed to move the ball consistently. Brian Robinson Jr. finished with 15 carries for 53 yards.
Jerry Jones: Cowboys Have Contacted Shaquille Leonard Amid NFL Free Agency Rumors - Bleacher Report, Jack Murray
Jerry confirms Cowboys’ interest in the free agent linebacker.
The vaunted Dallas Cowboys defense may get more formidable in the near future.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told reporters that the team is satisfied with the current linebacker core but are taking looks at the newly released Shaquille Leonard.
“We’ll see how we do with our evaluation and look at him pretty good,” Jones told reporters. “[We’ll] look at some health things [with Leonard]. I know a lot of teams are looking at him, so I don’t want to give an indication of the degree of our interest with him.”
While he admitted his interest in Leonard, Jones was quick to praise linebackers Damone Clark, Rashaan Evans and Markquese Bell. He also said that he did not feel like the Cowboys are competing with the Philadelphia Eagles for Leonard.
Jerry Jones Ranks Thanksgiving Win Over Commanders As One of Top Cowboys Moments - SportsIllustrated, Madison Williams
Jerry Jones really loved this game.
Yet, the 81-year-old ranked Thursday’s annual Cowboys game on Thanksgiving vs. the Commanders as one of the top moments in his career with the team thus far. It should be noted that the Cowboys dominated and won 45–10 as the Commanders never really stood a chance to beat Dallas at home.
“I don’t know that I’ve had a day like this,” Jones said after the game, via The Athletic’s Jon Machota. “And I’ll include them all, I’ll put Super Bowls in there, I don’t know if I’ve ever had a better day with the Cowboys than today.”
If CeeDee doesn't get on that fumble, who knows what happens.
ARLINGTON, Texas – This game will be remembered for Dak Prescott’s four touchdown passes, or DaRon Bland’s record-setting interception return for a touchdown as the Cowboys won their 13th straight game at home.
However, here are some plays that might not be remembered but were significant in the final score.
CeeDee recovers a fumble on scoring drive – On the first scoring drive of the game, CeeDee Lamb was flagged for holding and a false start to get the offense backed up. But on a big pass to Tony Pollard, the ball popped out at the end, but Lamb was there to pounce on it at the 22-yard line to save the possession. Just a few minutes later, Dowdle scored to grab the early lead.
Gilmore PBU before fourth down – With the Commanders trying to cut into the 10-point lead midway through the third quarter, Sam Howell went deep on third-and-1 but his pass to Terry McLaurin was broken up by Stephon Gilmore near the goal line. That led to fourth down, where the Commanders were stuffed for a 2-yard loss, wasting a chance to score.
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