CINCINNATI -- Cleveland Browns defensive back
That is until Sunday.
In the Browns’ 41-20 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium, Haden collected two interceptions on passes intended for wide receiver A.J. Green from quarterback Andy Dalton on back-to-back possessions. He returned the second for a 29-yard touchdown which gave the team a 13-point lead at the time.
“The first one was D’Qwell (Jackson). D’Qwell actually was in A.J’s way,” Haden said. “He was trying to throw it to A.J. He thought the only way to get to him was high and outside and I was standing right there waiting. On the second one, he ran a deep stop route and I opened up, came out of my break and when I turned around, the ball was coming.”
Haden, who limited Green to seven yards on two catches, said Sunday was among his best games ever.
“It’s up there,” Haden said. “I’ve never had two picks in a game, never had a pick six, so it’s definitely up there.”
Early in the first quarter, Haden’s interception helped set up
The Bengals faced a first-and-10 from their own 20-yard line when Dalton attempted a pass for Green, but instead of the out route, Green ran a comeback. Dalton’s pass sailed beyond the reach of the Pro Bowl wide receiver and into Haden’s arms.
Haden returned the ball 15 yards to the Bengals’ 14-yard line.
Later on in the first quarter, the Bengals faced a second-and-10 from their own 20-yard line when Dalton took the shotgun snap and dropped back to pass to Green on the right side of the formation. However, Haden jumped the route for his second takeaway of the game.
Realizing nothing was standing in his way to the end zone, Haden was not to be denied of the score. With free safety
“When I caught it, I didn’t see anybody in front of me and I knew I wasn’t going to get caught from behind, so I just took off,” Haden recalled.
“I always thought it was going to be different than that. I always thought I was going to be so excited and go crazy in the end zone. It’s just a big play in a big game, and I was just trying to help our team win. It felt good, but I just wanted to go back out there. It was all about the win. I just wanted to do whatever we had to do to win.”
After the second interception, Haden was all smiles, and already had a special place in his house for the ball.
“The first ball, I threw up into the stands to somebody wearing my jersey,” Haden said with his trademark smile. “They got the first one and I got the second. I’m bringing it home. I’m keeping it on my shelf. Dad gets the (next) one.”