With the Jets threatening on their opening possession, Quandre Diggs did what he has done so many times throughout his career, perfectly reading quarterback Mike White's intentions, then making a play on the ball for a Seahawks takeaway.
The interception, which helped set up a field goal in Seattle's 23-6 win over the Jets, was Diggs' third this season—though by his own admission he should have more if not for a few drops—and it made the Pro-Bowl safety the only player in the NFL to record three or more interceptions in each of the past six seasons, the last three-and-half of which have been with the Seahawks.
Diggs is the first player since Marcus Peters from 2015-2020 to have three-plus interceptions in six straight seasons, and the first safety to do it since Ed Reed had an eight-season streak from 2006-2013.
As he returned the ball down the right sideline, Diggs held the ball aloft in celebration while the play was still unfolding, which Seahawks coach Pete Carroll jokingly called a "shameful return by Quandre coming up the sidelines, but he was having fun."
Diggs said the return was inspired by Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders.
"Shout out to Deion," Diggs said. "No lie, I was on TikTok and I saw when Deion came back for his last year in Baltimore when he was wearing 37, and I saw him do it, it might have been on Tuesday. I was like, 'If I get a pick this week, I'm going to do that.' It was kind of a in the moment deal.
Of Carroll's playful criticism, Diggs quipped, "Pete will be alright. I'm the only one in the league with 3-plus interceptions the last six years. He can deal with it."
For Diggs, who has been selected to the Pro Bowl each of the past three seasons, that streak of seasons with three or more interceptions is a mark of consistency. And this season in particular has been impressive considering his 2021 season ended with a fractured fibula and dislocated ankle, leading to surgery less than a year ago.
"For me, it's just consistency," Diggs said. "Consistently getting the ball and finding the ball. Really, I should have broken this a long time ago if I just caught the ball when I had those opportunities. It means a lot. Six years straight. I've even passed my brother in career interceptions. For me, it's a special moment. And we got the win, so it makes it even better. Starting the New Year off right."
As Diggs noted, his interception Sunday was the 22nd of his career, moving him past his brother, Quentin Jammer, who had 21 in a 12-year career with the Chargers and Broncos. Digg said he planned to call Jammer on his way home from the stadium for a little sibling trash talk.
"I'm going to call him as soon as I get in the car, talk some trash," he said. "It's something I came into the year expecting to do. You guys know me, I always pride myself on getting the ball, and it's something I expected to do. For me, it's dope, it's something that I've always looked forward to. I've got more picks than him in college and the NFL, so that makes it very sweet."
With Diggs helping set the tone, the Seahawks defense held the Jets to just 279 yards, had a season-high three takeaways—Darrell Taylor forced a fumble that was recovered by Uchenna Nwosu, and Michael Jackson added an interception—and most importantly they kept the Jets out of the end zone, and off the scoreboard entirely in the second half.
"It's excellent," Diggs said. "At halftime I just wanted guys to keep their foot on their necks, 'Don't give up, don't let up.' We've had points where we held teams down, and held them down, and held them down, and then we give up some cheap touchdowns. I didn't want that to happen today. Guys responded well. Big guys up front played a hell of a game. Cody (Barton) and Tanner (Muse) came in for J.B. (Jordyn Brooks) and those guys played great. And on the back end we played really good too."
Check out some of the best action shots from Week 17 vs. the New York Jets at Lumen Field on January 1, 2023. Game action photos are presented by Washington's Lottery.