ARLINGTON, Texas – Trevon Diggs called it.
"I told him before the game, 'I need one (interception),'" defensive end Randy Gregory said. "He said, 'I'm going to get you two.'"
Those two picks made Cowboys history, too.
Diggs became just the second Cowboy ever to record an interception in each of the first four games of a season and the first since Don Bishop in 1961, the franchise's second year of existence.
It's a remarkable start for the second-year cornerback and reigning NFC Defensive Player of the Month. Diggs has already eclipsed his rookie interception total (three) and, through only four games, has already produced the most picks by a Cowboy in a single season (five) since Bruce Carter had five in 2014.
Diggs didn't even play the fourth quarter because of back tightness. The Cowboys held him out as a precaution, head coach Mike McCarthy said.
Without Diggs in the lineup, Carolina scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns to trim the Cowboys' 22-point lead to eight. But the Dallas offense was able to run out the final 4:31 for their third win of the season.
McCarthy has preached complementary football since taking the head-coaching job in 2020. Sunday, the Cowboys put the game out of reach with a 24-0 run in the third and fourth quarter. Ten of those points were off Diggs' interceptions with the offense taking over inside Panthers territory.
"Player of the Month, working on second month of the season," McCarthy said. "He's playing with phenomenal confidence. Took a big responsibility today working on their top receiver. He delivered with two huge plays there in the second half. He's playing at a very high level right now. It's awesome."
Indeed, Diggs traveled with Carolina receiver DJ Moore in the first three quarters. It's the third time in four games he's matched up exclusively with an opposing top receiver, previously facing three-time Pro Bowler Mike Evans and four-time Pro Bowler Keenan Allen. Sunday, Moore had eight catches for 113 yards and scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter with Diggs on the sideline.
Diggs credited the Cowboys' pass rush for making his two interceptions possible. He got the first one in zone coverage, picking off Sam Darnold in the middle of the field after the Carolina quarterback forced a throw under heavy pressure.
A few minutes later, Diggs jumped a stop route by Moore and dove for the interception, showing off his college receiver experience.
"Honestly, that's Diggs," Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said. "Some of these interceptions he's getting, I learned long ago in the spring not to try him on those routes and those plays. When he gets interceptions I almost laugh. … I go back to last year in training camp when he picked me off in back-to-back two-minute drills. I knew then that certain routes and certain concepts that you have to know where he is, and you've got to know his position."
Diggs is emerging as a shutdown corner in his second season, but he doesn't want quarterbacks to stop throwing his way.
"I need more," he said.
"I feel like I still have work to do. I haven't reached what I wanted to reach, I haven't accomplished what I wanted to accomplish, so I feel like I've still got work to do."