When Trevor Lawrence took a deep shot in the middle of the field during the second quarter of Sunday's game, it looked like the Jaguars quarterback had gifted Seahawks safety Quandre Diggs about as easy of an interception as any NFL defensive back could hope for.
But as is so often the case with football, there was more to the story that was looked to be obvious at the time. Yes, the play looked easy for Diggs, but only because a lot of film study and a high football IQ allowed him to be in exactly the right spot. Diggs didn't just know some of the Jaguars' tendencies, he also knew that as well as Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell and passing game coordinator Brian Schottenheimer—a pair of former Seahawks offensive coordinators—knew his game, they might try to test his aggressiveness.
"Knowing Bev, knowing Schotty, knowing they were going to test me," Diggs said. "I'm an aggressive player, so teams are going to try me."
Diggs noted the Rams beat Diggs on a similar concept twice last season throwing deep to Cooper, and he figured Bevell and Schottenheimer's knowledge of his style of play would lead them to believe he'd be aggressive in run defense on a play-action pass. Instead, Diggs stayed deep, jumped the receiver's route, and undercut the pass for his third interception of the season.
"That's the IQ I play with," Diggs said. "It looked like he threw it right to me, but I actually jumped the route."
The interception was Diggs third this year, making him the only player in the NFL with three or more picks in each of the past five seasons, and plenty of his 17 interceptions over that span have looked easy on the surface, but again, a lot of planning and knowledge goes into making his job look easy.
"A few of them last year I wasn't even supposed to be over there, and it looked like the quarterback threw it to me, but I just kind of ran to where I knew he was going," Diggs said. "I think that's the IQ part of it that people don't see. That's just my game."
Told of Diggs' accomplishment that stands alone in the NFL, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll expressed his appreciation for Diggs as a player and a leader.
"Good for him, good for him," Carroll said. "He's got a whole half a season coming up, too. Yeah, he's a fantastic football player and teammate. He's just such a stud of a teammate. Some guys when they say stuff everybody listens; he's one of those guys. People respect him because of who he is and how he does what he does and how he works his business and all. For him to have success like that is great. He deserves every bit of it. He had a couple great tackles today, too."
And while Diggs' knowledge of opposing offenses plays a big role in getting all of those interceptions, the other factor is just the knack he has for making the play when the opportunity arises. Plenty of other defensive backs get in good positions to make plays, but few are able to come through with a turnover as often as Diggs, who earned Pro-Bowl honors last season for the first time in his career.
"There are guys that have been there before, and when the opportunity arises they just cash in," Diggs said. "There are other guys where it's hard; they are not accustomed to it so they tense up or not sure how to handle it or make the decisions. I've always thought there are guys that are interceptors, guys that just do it and know how to get it done. He's truly one of those guys."
If Diggs keeps this up, he could well be on his way to another Pro-Bowl nod in 2021, but even as the recognition starts coming in, his teammates feel like he still doesn't get the respect he deserves as one of the league's best defensive backs.
"Diggs is doing his thing, it's no shocker to me," safety Jamal Adams said. "He's been doing that for a long time. He's been under the radar. He's finally getting the love that he deserves, so I'm happy for him."
Diggs isn't too concerned with the outside perception of his play because he has the utmost confidence in himself, which is what matters most when he's on the field.
"In my mind, nobody can tell me I'm not the best in the league, so I don't really care what everybody else says," Diggs said. "In my mind, I'm the best in the league, so if you all think I'm underrated, cool."
Go behind the scenes with team photographer Rod Mar as he shares moments from the Seattle Seahawks' 31-7 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on October 31, 2021 at Lumen Field. Eye On The Hawks is presented by Western Washington Toyota Dealers.