As an NFL defensive back, it’s hard to say you had a good day when the other team’s quarterback passes for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns in a 38-30 win.
In the case of South Carolina Gamecock alum D.J. Swearinger, it wasn’t a good game. It was a great one.
The Greenwood native was all over the field for the Washington Redskins in their home game against the Minnesota Vikings. Swearinger supplied an eye-popping stat line.
- Two interceptions
- Two passes defended
- Five total tackles
- Three solo tackles
- One tackle for loss
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This is a game Swearinger will look back on as one of the best individual performances of his NFL career. It was the first multi-interception game of his NFL career.
Unfortunately for him, the rest of Washington’s defense – including Coastal Carolina alum, former Carolina Panther All-Pro and fellow Greenwood native Josh Norman – struggled to keep Minnesota in check.
Led by journeyman quarterback Case Keenum, the Vikings scored 38 points and gained more than 400 yards of total offense from scrimmage.
If it weren’t for Swearinger, Keenum would have had a near perfect day, as he completed 21 of 29 passes. His only blemishes were the second-half interceptions by Swearinger.
The free safety’s first interception came on a fine play by Swearinger, and a poor pass. Keenum lofted the ball up for grabs, and Swearinger came down with it over intended target Kyle Rudolph for his first interception of the 2017 season.
Swearinger’s second interception was a truly exceptional play by the former Gamecock.
Keenum threw an out to the sideline, a play Swearinger anticipated. He jumped the route, made the clean pick and raced 31 yards for what looked like a sure touchdown. But Keenum made a diving swipe to knock the ball out of Swearinger’s hands at the 2-yard line.
The fumbled ball went out of bounds and Washington scored a touchdown two plays later. It prevented the first touchdown of Swearinger’s NFL career.
This is Swearinger’s first season with Washington, which is his fourth NFL team. After being drafted in the second round by the Houston Texans in 2013, Swearinger has had stints with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Arizona Cardinals.
In five seasons, Swearinger has eight interceptions, 270 tackles and five forced fumbles.
Swearinger played for the gamecocks from 2009-12, when he had six interceptions and three touchdowns, in addition to being named All-SEC second team as a senior.
Although his team didn’t win Sunday, Swearinger’s effort didn’t go unnoticed. Many took to social media to praise his performance.