Early in the fourth quarter of the Redskins’ 41-21 win over the Bears on Saturday, Washington safety Will Blackmon was on the receiving end of the fourth of Chicago quarterback Matt Barkley’s five interceptions.
“Coach Gus Bradley said, ‘Catch the ones that are thrown at you,’ ” Blackmon told my colleague Master Tesfatsion of his first interception of the season, recalling the advice of his former head coach for two years in Jacksonville. “It’s hard, man. I watch TV, and I’m like, ‘Man, I just wish I can get one thrown to me.’ I just heard like Frank Sinatra music playing, and the ball was just floating. I’ll take it.”
Thanks to a key block by teammate Duke Ihenacho, Blackmon’s interception was nearly a pick-six, but he was pushed out of bounds by Bears running back Jordan Howard at the Chicago nine-yard line after a 79-yard return. Howard’s touchdown-saving tackle denied Blackmon a chance to break out an end zone celebration.
“I looked, and I just saw the grass,” Blackmon said. “I was thinking like, ‘Hmm, what can I do?’ I think of pulling out a Rolodex of just dances and like, ‘I’m going to do something. It’s Christmas Eve.’ But then I got taken out with a tranquilizer dart.”
It turned out two things (in addition to a “tranquilizer dart”) were working against the 32-year-old Blackmon during his ultimately unsuccessful sprint toward the end zone: his foot speed and his footwear.
“Last year, I think my speed in Madden was 90,” Blackmon said. “I think it’s 86 this year, or something like that. That had a lot to do it with it. Also, too, I’ve got Nate Sudfeld’s cleats on today. That might be something to do with it too. I’m blaming him.”