When the ball's in the air, Trevon Diggs believes it's his.
That's how Diggs made his first career Pro Bowl earlier this week, and that's why he was surprised that Washington quarterback Taylor Heinicke tested him downfield on the first play from scrimmage Sunday night.
"I was in my feelings. Like, 'Wow, they really just did that,'" Diggs said.
The star cornerback made Washington pay for that decision, and in the process, he moved one step closer to breaking an elusive Cowboys record in their 56-14 blowout victory.
With record-holder Everson Walls watching from an AT&T Stadium suite, Diggs intercepted Heinicke on the first play from scrimmage, tying Walls for the most picks by a Cowboys player in a single season (11).
"Why would you try him on the first play? But I hope they continue to do that," Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott said. "At that point, we've got things rolling and we never looked back."
Maybe the most impressive part wasn't just Diggs' pick, but his overall production against Washington's No. 1 receiver Terry McLaurin, the intended receiver on the interception. In two games against the Cowboys this season -- primarily working against Diggs -- McLaurin had only three catches for 40 yards, all in the fourth quarter Sunday with the game clearly decided.
"He loves to compete, definitely wants those challenges," Cowboys head coach Mike McCarthy said. "I think it says a lot about the leap that he's taken in year two. He's exciting to watch. He's a special player."
It's been a remarkable breakout season for Diggs, who had three interceptions as a rookie last year but felt he missed out on a whole lot more. His goal in 2021 was to finish those plays and get 10 interceptions. He reached that total last Sunday against the Giants.
The Pro Bowl actually wasn't a goal this year, Diggs said, but the results are undeniable.
With two games left in the regular season, he has a chance to do more than break Walls' franchise record. He's only two interceptions away from tying Lester Hayes (13 in 1980) for the most picks by any player since the NFL-AFL merger in 1970.
More than anything, Diggs' ball-hawking style has helped reshape the defense's identity. Once starved for turnovers in recent seasons, the Cowboys now lead the NFL with 33 takeaways thanks to two more Sunday: Diggs' interception and defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence's spectacular pick-six in the first half.
The Cowboys (11-4) have officially clinched the NFC East, and it looks like Diggs and the defense are peaking just in time for January.
"Everybody's clicking. Everyone wants to make plays," Diggs said. "If you see the next man make a play, you want to make a play. If you see him make a play, the next person wants to make a play. So, we've got this energy and this vibe on defense that's unmatched."