FRISCO, Texas – Cornerbacks are supposed to have short memories, but Trevon Diggs shouldn't be in a hurry to forget this night.
It's not every day you get your first NFL interception, let alone two in the same game – and off of a feared division rival, no less.
"I love the way he played," said Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy. "Love the competitiveness. He had such a competitive spirit. He had some tough challenges, and the guy just keeps going."
In a results-oriented business, it's always going to take precedence that the Cowboys lost this game. Even still, it's hard not to be happy for the Cowboys' second-round draft pick, who has had his ups and downs this season.
Diggs was always due for a challenging rookie season when he grabbed a starting job in an undermanned secondary this summer. But with Chidobe Awuzie and Anthony Brown both spending time out of the lineup this season, he was that much more likely to be targeted.
"He makes a ton of plays, and even some of them – they're always contested," said Sean Lee. "He plays so hard, he's so talented for a young guy."
That appeared to be the case again Sunday night. Carson Wentz looked Diggs' way early and often in the first half, and he eventually took advantage of him for a 32-yard gain to Travis Fulgham that set up the Eagles' first touchdown of the night.
As he has repeated many times this season, Diggs said his key as a cornerback is not to let that faze him.
"You've just got to keep fighting. That's the key to the position," he said. "We're all professionals, so they're going to catch some passes. You've just got to respond and keep competing throughout the whole game."
If his confidence ever waivered, it didn't show. Two possessions later, Wentz rolled right out of the pocket and fired a missile to the end zone from the Dallas 34-yard line. The Eagles' veteran quarterback had been looking for first-round draft pick Jalen Reagor at the sideline – but he instead found Diggs, who managed to drag his shin down in the end zone to nab his first career interception.
"I knew I wasn't going to get my other feet because of my momentum, so I put my knee down," Diggs said. "It's just making a play on the ball, having awareness of where I'm at on the field."
Undaunted, Wentz tried his luck again at the start of the third quarter – and once again wound up as the guy getting victimized.
Diggs' second pick was arguably better than his first, as he tracked down the 50-yard lob over his right shoulder and hauled it in – while still having the wherewithal and return it out of the Dallas end zone to the 31-yard line.
These are the types of plays Diggs was capable of making during training camp – and the type of plays he says he feels comfortable making because of his background as a wide receiver.
"That's exactly what it was. I had seen the ball thrown and seen what angle it was going at, so it kind of took me back to my wide receiver abilities – being able to track the ball and things like that," he said.
Given his extensive history coaching in the NFL, McCarthy's own words carried some weight, as well.
"He's as good a young player as I've ever seen in my time in this league when the ball is in the air," he said.
It's not all going to be positive – not in a loss. Wentz would rebound to find Fulgham for a 9-yard touchdown, this one on another contested effort by Diggs.
All told, it was a fitting night to describe Diggs' season. He was targeted 10 times, allowing six catches for 76 yards and two touchdowns. But the other four targets? Two pass breakups and the two interceptions.
Still, it was the best performance of the season for a rookie who has shown a lot of promise. And even if Diggs has a short memory about his own play, it sure seems like others are taking notice.
"The plays he makes, you don't see young guys making that," Lee said. "It's a matter of time before he's one of the best players in the league. I think he's that good – that good of a player, that good of an athlete, that good of a person."