Bland did his job and then some Sunday, helping lead a Cowboys defense that smothered the Patriots, jumping the bevy of underneath routes and making life miserable on New England.
A fifth-round pick in 2022, Bland enjoyed the second two-INT game of his young career on Sunday. His eight interceptions since 2022 are the most in the league, per NFL Research. Bland said Sunday ranks as his best game as a pro.
"It's the top, definitely the top," he said. "Two picks with a pick-six, so that's definitely the top."
Jones was lucky he didn't throw more than two interceptions to Bland. A few plays before the pick-six, the QB got away with throwing late across the field. Jones foolishly went back to that well, and Bland was ready, swiped the pigskin and raced for the Cowboys' second defensive score of the first half, essentially sewing up Dallas' victory before the break.
Bland knows he stepped into big shoes vacated by Diggs. But after showing promise late last season when thrust into the nickel role, he's proven capable of handling the pressure. In two games moving outside, he's held his own. In Week 3, he allowed two catches on two targets for 26 yards with a DPI on 23 coverage snaps. Sunday, he allowed four catches on eight targets for 69 yards with the two INTs on 28 coverage snaps.
"You gotta get comfortable in the role, it's a big role to take over," he said. "I was just trying to fill his outside role. You have to know our defense, because everybody can move everywhere. I can play outside, I just had to make sure and not forget that part of it."