Cowboys Dud turned Stud: DaRon Bland, Cornerback
The NFL named DaRon Bland the November Defensive Player of the Month after he set an NFL record with his fifth interception return for a touchdown last week against the Washington Commanders. At the time, it seemed insane that anyone was even willing to throw the football in his direction but apparently, the Seahawks weren't worried about that.
They came out and targeted Bland, even beating him on their first third-down conversion of the day. While Bland had good coverage and just missed breaking it up, D.K. Metcalf still beat him for the reception and took it 73 yards to the house (although Donovan Wilson deserves much of the blame for this since he abandoned his deep coverage simply because Geno Smith looked to the right for a split second).
The issues for Bland didn't stop there. He was beaten deep by Metcalf on another long drive and then was embarrassed several times on the final drive before the half. He was guilty of giving Tyler Lockett far too much space to catch a short pass and go out of bounds with 16 seconds left in the half. Then, he was beaten by Jaxon Smith-Njigba in the end zone, for what appeared to be a touchdown.
After review, it was ruled Smith-Njigba didn't catch the pass but Bland was still flagged for pass interference, giving the Seahawks the ball on the one-yard line. That drive was capped off with a one-yard score for Metcalf, who again beat Bland in the end zone. In all, he gave up five receptions for 137 yards and a touchdown in the first 30 minutes.
Bland didn't let that stop him, however. In the second half, he made a huge play when he picked off a pass intended for Lockett in the third quarter. Dallas was unable to score when CeeDee Lamb dropped a pass on fourth-and-two but Bland still gave the defense some confidence with this stop.
He nearly even came up with a second pick late in the fourth quarter. Smith lobbed a ball up on fourth down in desperation and Bland was the closest to pulling it in. Still, he wound up adding his eighth pick of the year and now has one in four straight games. Yes, this was his worst game of the year but it's encouraging to know that even when he's at his worst, he can still help his team create turnovers.