CHARLOTTE, N.C. — During Sunday's 33-10 win over the Carolina Panthers, second-year cornerback DaRon Bland hauled in his sixth interception of the season and returned it for an NFL record-tying fourth pick-six of the year to help put the game away for Dallas.
The interception came on a fourth quarter first down pass from Bryce Young that came in behind Jonathan Mingo and into the outstretched hands of Bland, who somersaulted and popped up to run 30 yards back to the end zone to extend the lead to three scores.
"Once I had the ball in my hands, I wanted to keep it going and go score," Bland said. "I saw him running an under, and he kind of had a step on me at first so I had to catch up. Once I caught up and turned, I saw the ball was coming and I said, 'I have to go get this one.'"
Just that he did as Bland's fourth interception return for a touchdown on the year not only tied an NFL record, but also set the franchise record.
"It just makes another goal to break it," he said about the record. "I think it was when I touched the end zone, it was like, 'Wow, I just did it. I tied the record.' I'm level-headed now and I want to go break it."
"It wasn't really about the record. It's really about being in the history books, being remembered."
The second-year cornerback out of Fresno State now has 11 interceptions since he entered the league in 2022 which he credits to his days as a receiver in high school.
"It goes back to high school and playing receiver, always having the ball in my hands," he said. "That's a play I can make any other day."
His elite play in 2023 has his name in the conversation for being an All-Pro, including Micah Parsons saying the young corner deserves to be recognized at season's end. Bland on the other hand, much more reserved.
"I got no thoughts on it," he said. "It is what it is. If I don't make it, I'll have to make them pay."