The strongest safeties in the NFL are known for their brute strength, hard hits, explosive tackles, and ability to instill fear in the eyes of their opposition. They make players think twice before running towards them and when they do, they’re often met with a force they can’t quite handle.
There are generally two safeties on the field at any given moment – the free safety and the strong safety. The free safety is traditionally known as the ‘ball hawk,’ while the strong safety is traditionally known as the ‘big hitter.’ Either way, they’re considered the last line of defense.
While strong safeties are usually the bigger, stronger, and more fearful players, that doesn’t mean free safeties are weak. Much like any other football player, they love a big hit and will use every ounce of their strength to initiate a clean one when the right opportunity presents itself.
Who Are the Strongest Safeties in the NFL?
Most safeties are known for their ability to make big plays on the football field and the strongest safeties in the NFL generally rely on their strength to do so. That’s not to say they aren’t good in coverage, but they certainly know how to pump up the crowd with a big, yet clean hit or tackle.
When you think of the strongest safeties in the NFL, some players stand out more than others. Whether it’s due to the sheer size of their muscles or a big hit you once saw on Sportscenter’s Top Ten, the strongest safeties in the NFL have a way of finding themselves on a highlight reel.
Don’t worry, we’re going to rank 20 of the strongest safeties in the NFL. These are players you’re going to want to watch on Football Sunday and if you have a favorite team that you root for, then you might want to start recruiting them to your team because they’re game-changers.
20. Quandre Diggs
Quandre Diggs was drafted by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He has played both the strong safety and free safety positions, as well as cornerback. After four and a half seasons with the Lions, Diggs was traded to the Seattle Seahawks for a draft pick.
In 65 games with Detroit, Diggs recorded 215 tackles, 3 forced fumbles, one fumble recoveries, 6 interceptions, 24 passes defensed, and one touchdown. In 38 games with Seattle, he has 158 tackles, 13 interceptions, 20 passes defensed, one touchdown, and two Pro Bowl appearances.
19. Terrell Edmunds
Terrell Edmunds was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the 28th overall pick in 2018. He has spent the past four seasons with the team, playing in 64 games (60 games as starter) at the strong safety position. He still has some developing to do, but he’s a consistent player.
Since joining the league, Edmunds has recorded 340 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, one fumble recovery, 5 interceptions, and 21 passes defensed. He has recorded two interceptions in each of the past two seasons and eight of his 12 career tackles for loss came last season.
18. Kevin Byard
Kevin Byard was drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the third round of the 2016 NFL Draft. He has been with the team for the past six years, playing in 97 games and starting 88 games at the free safety position. He’s a two-time Pro Bowl and two-time All-Pro player for the Titans.
Over the past six years, Byard has accumulated 519 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, 4.0 sacks, 3 fumble recoveries, 3 forced fumbles, 23 interceptions, 57 passes defensed, and 2 touchdowns. He led the league with eight interceptions in 2017 and tallied five interceptions last season.
17. Tyrann Mathieu
Tyrann Mathieu was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the third round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He was the team’s starting free safety for five seasons before transitioning to strong safety with the Houston Texans in 2018. He has since been the Kansas City Chiefs’ starting strong safety.
Mathieu has had three of the best years of his career with the Chiefs since joining the team in 2019. In 47 games with the team, he has recorded 213 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, 4 fumble recoveries, 13 interceptions, 27 passes defensed, and 2 defensive touchdowns.
16. Adrian Amos
Adrian Amos was drafted by the Chicago Bears in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent four years with the team, playing both free safety and strong safety. He didn’t record his first interception until his third year, but recorded two interceptions in his final year with Chicago.
In 2019, Amos signed with the rival Green Bay Packers and has recorded two interceptions in every season since. In addition to his six picks in Green Bay, Amos has recorded 260 tackles, 8 tackles for loss, 3.0 sacks, and 25 passes defensed. He hasn’t missed a game since 2017.
15. Chauncey Gardner-Johnson
Chauncey Gardner-Johnson was drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the fourth round of the 2019 NFL Draft. He has gradually improved over the past three seasons and most recently set new career-highs in sacks and interceptions, despite only appearing in 12 games in 2021.
Gardner-Johnson had three interceptions and 2.0 sacks in 12 games last season. For reference, he had two interceptions and 1.0 sack in 31 games his first two seasons. We can expect to see a lot more of him in the coming years as he continues to emerge as a star.
14. DeShon Elliott
DeShon Elliott was drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft. He has spent the past three seasons as the team’s free safety, though he only played in six games last year due to a torn pec and torn biceps in Week 9. He last played in November 2021.
Elliott didn’t see much playing time his first season, only appearing in six games and recording zero starts. He was the team’s starting free safety in 2020 and recorded 2.5 sacks, 80 tackles, and two forced fumbles. He recorded his first career interception in Week 6 last season.
13. Malik Hooker
Malik Hooker was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts with the 15th overall pick in 2017. He spent the first four years of his career as the team’s free safety before signing with the Dallas Cowboys for the 2021 season. He only started three games for the Cowboys last year.
Hooker looked like he could be one of the best safeties in the league during the first three years of his career. He had seven interceptions in that time, but only played two games in 2020 due to an injury. He caught one interception and had 44 tackles with the Cowboys last season.
12. Kyle Dugger
Kyle Dugger was drafted by the New England Patriots in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Despite only being in the league for two seasons, Dugger has already established himself as a quality Patriots’ starter. He started seven games in 2020 and started 13 games in 2021.
Last year, he set career-highs in tackles (92), tackles for loss (5), fumble recoveries (1), passes defensed (5), and interceptions (4). He’s still developing and will continue to improve, so the sky’s the limit for this 25-year old safety. We’ll likely see some big hits in the near future, as well.
11. Marcus Maye
Marcus Maye was drafted by the New York Jets in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He has spent the past five seasons with the team, but only played in six games in 2018 and 2021 due to injuries. This past season was the first year he failed to record at least one interception.
Since 2017, Maye has recorded 312 tackles, 9 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 6 interceptions, and 24 passes defensed. He had a 104-yard interception return in 2018, but failed to walk it into the endzone. Look for him to break out next year.
10. Kareem Jackson
Kareem Jackson was drafted by the Houston Texans with the 20th overall pick in 2010. He spent nine years with the team, tallying 559 tackles, 22 tackles for loss, 2.0 sackes, 6 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 16 interceptions, 88 passes defensed, and 3 touchdowns.
In 2019, Jackson signed with the Denver Broncos and has played 44 games with the team since. In that time, he has recorded 248 tackles, 6 tackles for loss, 1.0 sack, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 4 interceptions, 16 passes defensed, and one defensive touchdown.
9. Jabrill Peppers
Jabrill Peppers was drafted by the Cleveland Browns with the 25th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. He spent the first two years of his career with the team and was a regular starter at both the strong safety and free safety positions, but failed to make much of a difference on the field.
He was traded to the New York Giants ahead of the 2019 season and started in 25 games over the next two seasons, but still wasn’t coming to form. He only played in six games this past season with a ruptured ACL and high ankle sprain. He has just four career interceptions.
8. Harrison Smith
Harrison Smith was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings with the 29th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He has spent his entire 10-year career with the team and has caught at least one interception in every season except 2016. He has caught a total of 29 interceptions in his career.
In addition to his 29 picks, Smith has tallied 861 tackles, 42 tackles for loss, 8 forced fumbles, 8 fumble recoveries, 16.5 sacks, 73 passes defensed, and 4 defensive touchdowns in 145 games played. He has also made six Pro Bowl appearances and was named an All-Pro player once.
7. Derwin James Jr.
Derwin James Jr. was drafted by the Los Angeles Chargers with the 17th overall pick in 2018. He had himself a tremendous rookie season, tallying 105 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 3 interceptions, and 13 passes defensed in 16 games as the team’s starting free safety.
Unfortunately, he suffered several nagging knee, foot, and hamstring injuries that limited his 2019 season to five games and 2020 season to zero games. He returned in 2021 and recorded 118 tackles, 2.0 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, 2 interceptions, and 5 passes defensed in 15 games.
6. Jordan Poyer
Jordan Poyer was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the seventh round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He was traded to the Cleveland Browns early on in his rookie season and spent the next three seasons fighting for playing time. He had just 10 starts after four years in the NFL.
His career took a turn for the best when he sparked interest from the Buffalo Bills in free agency. He immediately became the team’s starting safety and has been exactly that ever since. Over the past five years in Buffalo, he has 18 interceptions, 10 sacks, and six forced fumbles.
5. Landon Collins
Landon Collins was drafted by the New York Giants in the second round of the 2015 NFL Draft. He spent the next four years with the team as he established himself as one of the best strong safeties in the league. During that time, he recorded 437 tackles and 8 interceptions.
Collins signed with the Washington Commanders ahead of the 2019 season and has been with the team ever since. Over the past three years, he has recorded 239 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 6.0 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, 3 interceptions, 2 fumble recoveries, and 7 passes defensed.
4. Malcolm Jenkins
Malcolm Jenkins was drafted by the New Orleans Saints with the 14th overall pick in 2009. He spent the next seven years with the Saints and recorded six interceptions, 6 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries, 4.5 sacks, 9 tackles for loss and 37 passes defensed in that time.
Jenkins signed with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014 and spent six seasons with the team before returning to the Saints in 2020 and 2021. In 199 career games, Jenkins has 1,044 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 20 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, 21 interceptions, and 8 defensive touchdowns.
3. Budda Baker
Budda Baker was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals in the second round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He has been with the team ever since and while he had 100+ tackles in two of his first three seasons, he didn’t record his first career interception until his fourth year in the league.
Baker led the league with 104 solo tackles in 2019 and while he didn’t have any picks in his first three years, he has caught five interceptions in his past two seasons. He also has 7.5 career sacks, 5 career forced fumbles, 5 career fumble recoveries, and one defensive touchdown.
2. Jamal Adams
Jamal Adams was drafted by the New York Jets with the sixth overall pick in 2017. He was one of the most-anticipated safety prospects in a while and is likely one of the best pass-rushing safeties to ever play. He’s a three-time Pro Bowler and was named an All-Pro player once.
Over the past five seasons, Adams has recorded 21.5 sacks – more than most safeties have in their entire career. While he didn’t have one last season, he had 9.5 sacks in his first season with the Seattle Seahawks. He also has 43 career tackles for loss and seven forced fumbles.
1. Andrew Sendejo
Andrew Sendejo went undrafted in 2010, wasn’t signed as an undrafted free agent, and ended up playing in the UFL for the 2010 season. He joined the Dallas Cowboys’ practice squad halfway through the 2010 NFL season and signed with the Minnesota Vikings in 2011.
Sendejo’s career finally took off in 2013 and he remained a key part of the Vikings’ defense until he was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles during the 2019 season. He has bounced around a little bit since then, but he is still one of the most feared safeties in the league – known for his big hits.
Who Are the All-Time Strongest Safeties in the NFL?
The strongest safeties in the NFL have a way of making opponents remember them with their big hits. They’ll leave bruises that you feel the next morning and often show no mercy when given the chance. The moment they see a big play open up, their eyes light up like a firework.
Some of the hardest-hitting, scariest, and strongest safeties in NFL history include the likes of Brain Dawkins, Ronnie Lott, Steve Atwater, Jack Tatum, Rodney Harrison, Sean Taylor, John Lynch, Troy Polamalu, Ed Reed, Andre Waters, Kenny Easley, and Kam Chancellor.
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The 2022 NFL Draft is just a little over a month away and there are several safety prospects that could find themselves on this list in the future. Some names to remember are Kyle Hamilton, Lewis Cine, Bubba Bolden, Jordan Battle, Sterling Weatherford, and Isaiah Pola-Mao.
20 Players Who Had the Most Interceptions In a Game
Intercepting a pass from an NFL quarterback isn’t easy, but the football players with the most interceptions in a game defied those odds and they did so numerous times. Some players did it twice, some did it three times, and some were skilled enough to do it four times in one game.
Any football player knows that they play a game of matchups. Some nights the matchup is in your favor, while other nights it’s in your opponent’s favor. The best teams in the NFL are the ones with players that can excel and prosper on any given night — favored or unfavored.
It didn’t matter if the players with the most interceptions in a game were favored or unfavored — they won their matchup that week and they did everything possible to put their team in a position to win. At the end of the day, that’s all you can ask for from a defensive player on game day.
Which Players Had the Most Interceptions In a Game?
Creating turnovers and intercepting passes is an art form in the NFL. Having the timing, the footwork, the anticipation, the IQ, the hand-eye coordination, and the ability to execute not just once, but several times in a live game can deplete a quarterback’s confidence and self-esteem.
It’s something that a quarterback will think about later that night and likely for the rest of their career. They’ll do whatever they can to never have that happen ever again — that’s the type of impact and influence a multi-interception game can have for a defensive player of any position.
As we count down the players with the most interceptions in a game, we pay homage to some of the greatest defensive performances of all-time. With past and present players colliding in a star-studded list, let’s start off with a few honorable mentions for most interceptions in a game:
Honorable Mentions: Keith Bulluck (3), Antrel Rolle (3), Lofa Tatupu (3), Marcus Trufant (3), Asante Samuel (3), Ty Law (3), Ronde Barber (3), Nate Clements (3), Rod Woodson (3), Champ Bailey (3)
20. Antonio Cromartie – 3 INT
Team: San Diego Chargers
Opponent: Indianapolis Colts
Date: November 11, 2007
Stats: 6 tackles, 3 interceptions, 4 passes defensed
It was Week 10 of the 2007 NFL season with the Indianapolis Colts hosting the San Diego Chargers. The Colts were 7-1 entering the game with Peyton Manning under center, while the Chargers were 4-4 with Phillip Rivers leading the way. It was set to be a good matchup.
Unfortunately for Manning, he threw six interceptions in the 21-23 loss to the Colts — three of which came from Antonio Cromartie. The other three came from Clinton Hart, Matt Wilhelm, and Shaun Phillips. Clint Session finished the game with two interceptions on Rivers.
19. Leon Hall – 3 INT
Team: Cincinnati Bengals
Opponent: Cleveland Browns
Date: December 21, 2008
Stats: 2 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 passes defensed, 1 defensive touchdown
It was Week 16 of the 2008 NFL season and the Cincinnati Bengals were hosting the Cleveland Browns. The teams had a combined 7-21-1 record coming into the game, so not much was expected out of it and not much came of it. The Bengals ended up winning the game 14-0.
In the win, Leon Hall led his team with three interceptions on Browns’ quarterback Ken Dorsey. The first interception was returned 50 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter — it was the first score of the game. The other two Hall interceptions came in the third and fourth quarters.
18. Aqib Talib – 3 INT
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Opponent: Washington Redskins
Date: October 4, 2009
Stats: 4 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 passes defensed
It was Week 4 of the 2009 NFL season and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were playing host to the Washington Redskins. The Bucs were searching for their first win, while the Redskins were 1-2 to start the young season. Despite a 10-0 lead at halftime, Tampa Bay lost the game 13-16.
In the loss, Aqib Talib caught three interceptions on Redskins’ quarterback Jason Campbell. The first one came with a minute left in the first quarter and the next one came just five minutes into the second quarter. He snatched his third interception in the opening minutes of the fourth.
17. Leigh Bodden – 3 INT
Team: New England Patriots
Opponent: New York Jets
Date: November 22, 2009
Stats: 3 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 passes defensed, 1 defensive touchdown
It was Week 11 of the 2009 NFL season and the New England Patriots were playing host to the New York Jets in a divisional rivalry matchup. The Patriots were 6-3 and the Jets were 4-5, but most people were expecting the Patriots to roll right through them — which is what they did.
In the win, Leigh Bodden picked off Mark Sanchez three times and the first one was returned for a 53-yard touchdown in the first quarter. The second one came just one minute after a Patriots’ score in the second quarter and the third one came in the first 10 seconds of the fourth.
16. Glover Quin – 3 INT
Team: Houston Texans
Opponent: Tennessee Titans
Date: November 28, 2010
Stats: 4 tackles, 3 interceptions, 5 passes defensed, 1 quarterback hit
It was Week 12 of the 2010 NFL season and the Houston Texans were hosting the Tennessee Titans. The Texans were 4-6 and the Titans were 5-5, so both teams were looking to gain some momentum as the season winded down. It was Houston that walked away with a 20-0 shutout.
In the victory, Glover Quin finished with three interceptions on Rusty Smith, the first of which came on the opening play of the second quarter. The next one came four minutes into the fourth quarter and the final came with one minute left in the game. It was quite the performance.
15. Kurt Coleman – 3 INT
Team: Philadelphia Eagles
Opponent: Washington Redskins
Date: October 16, 2011
Stats: 7 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 passes defensed,
It was Week 6 of the 2011 NFL season and the Washington Redskins were hosting the Philadelphia Eagles. The Redskins were riding high at 3-1 entering the game, while the lowly Eagles were just 1-4. Despite that, the Eagles walked away with a 20-13 road victory.
Kurt Coleman was the star of the day, intercepting three passes by Rex Grossman — who would throw a total of four in the game. The first by Coleman came just three minutes into the game. The next two Coleman interceptions came just four minutes apart in the third quarter.
14. Kevin Byard – 3 INT
Team: Tennessee Titans
Opponent: Cleveland Browns
Date: October 22, 2017
Stats: 4 tackles, 3 interceptions, 3 passes defensed, 1 tackle for loss
It was Week 7 of the 2017 NFL season and the Cleveland Browns were hosting the Tennessee Titans. The Browns entered the game with an 0-6 record and the Titans were 3-3. Throughout the game, neither team scored a touchdown and the Titans walked away with a 12-9 victory.
Kevin Byard was a large reason why the Titans won that game with his three interceptions — two on DeShone Kizer and one on Cody Kessler. The first one came with 30 seconds left in the first half and the second came just one minute into the third. His final came in the fourth.
13. Andrew Adams – 3 INT
Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Opponent: Carolina Panthers
Date: December 2, 2018
Stats: 1 tackle, 3 interceptions, 3 passes defensed
Andrew Adams is the most recent player to catch three interceptions in one game — something that’s been done over 100 times over the past 70+ years. It came during Week 13 of the 2018 NFL season in a matchup between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers.
All three of Adams’ interceptions were on Cam Newton. The first interception came just seven minutes into the game. The second and third came in the fourth quarter — just five minutes apart. Cam Newton also threw one more interception to Javien Elliott to end his lackluster day.
12. Goose Gonsoulin – 4 INT
Team: Denver Broncos
Opponent: Buffalo Bills
Date: September 18, 1960
Stats: 4 interceptions, 28 interception yards
It was Week 2 of the 1960 AFL season and the Buffalo Bills were hosting the Denver Broncos. The Bills were looking to bounce back after losing their season opener the week before, while the Broncos were looking to continue momentum after starting the season with a 1-0 record.
It was the Broncos that walked away with the 27-21 win, thanks in large part to Goose Gonsoulin, who dominated the defensive end with four interceptions on Tommy O’Connell — he threw five total in the game. On the other end, Broncos’ QB Frank Tripucka threw two picks.
11. Jerry Norton – 4 INT
Team: St. Louis Cardinals
Opponent: Washington Redskins
Date: November 20, 1960
Stats: 4 interceptions, 20 interceptions yards, 3 punts, 132 punt yards
It was Week 9 of the 1960 NFL season and the Washington Redskins were playing host to the St. Louis Cardinals. The Redskins were off to a terrible start to the season, while the St. Louis Cardinals were at .500. As expected, the Cardinals beat the Redskins with a score of 26-14.
In the win, Jerry Norton had four of his team’s five interceptions — which was instrumental in their ability to pull out the win. Norton was also the punter for the Cardinals, punting the ball three times for 132 yards in the win. Norton went on to lead the league with 10 interceptions in 1960.
Norton would become the first player to catch four interceptions in two separate games in 1961, doing so again in Week 11 against the Pittsburgh Steelers — two of which were returned for a touchdown.
10. Dave Baker – 4 INT
Team: San Francisco 49ers
Opponent: Los Angeles Rams
Date: December 4, 1960
Stats: 4 interceptions, 49 interception yards
It was Week 11 of the 1960 NFL season and the Los Angeles Rams were hosting the San Francisco 49ers in a battle of the California teams. The Rams were 3-5-1 entering this game, while the 49ers were 5-4. It wasn’t much of a contest as the 49ers won with a score of 23-7.
The Los Angeles Rams used two quarterbacks throughout the game — Billy Wade and Frank Ryan. Both of them threw two interceptions and they all went to Dave Baker. To make matters worse, neither quarterback threw a touchdown and the Rams fell to 3-6-1 on the season.
9. Bobby Ply – 4 INT
Team: Dallas Texans
Opponent: San Diego Chargers
Date: December 16, 1962
Stats: 4 interceptions, 108 interception yards
It was Week 15 of the 1962 AFL season and the Dallas Texans were playing host to the San Diego Chargers. The Texans led 23-7 at halftime and despite being outscored 10-0 in the third quarter, the Texans walked away with a 26-17 victory and improved to 11-3 on the season.
During the win, Bobby Ply tallied four interceptions, becoming just the fourth player in NFL history to achieve that feat. The San Francisco 49ers went through two quarterbacks in the game — John Hadl threw five interceptions and Val Keckin threw one interception in the loss.
8. Bobby Hunt – 4 INT
Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Opponent: Houston Oilers
Date: October 4, 1964
Stats: 4 interceptions, 108 interception yards
It was Week 4 of the 1964 AFL season and the Kansas City Chiefs were playing host to the Houston Oilers. The Chiefs were 1-1 entering the game, while the Oilers were 2-1. After a scoreless first quarter, the Chiefs started to roll and ended up beating the Oilers 28-7.
During the game, quarterbacks threw a combined eight interceptions — five of which were thrown by George Blanda. Of those five, four were caught by Bobby Hunt and one was returned for a 29-yard touchdown in the third quarter. W.K. Hicks had two picks for the Oilers.
7. Willie Brown – 4 INT
Team: Denver Broncos
Opponent: New York Jets
Date: November 15, 1964
Stats: 4 interceptions, 91 interception yards
It was Week 10 of the 1964 AFL season and the Denver Broncos were hosting the New York Jets with neither team having a good season entering the game. The Jets scored the first touchdown, but the Broncos responded with 20 unanswered points and eventually won 20-16.
Willie Brown was the star of the game, finishing with four interceptions in the win. The Jets would throw a total of six interceptions — four by Dick Wood, one by Mike Taliaferro and Matt Snell. The game also featured a punt return touchdown and a safety to increase the excitement.
6. Dick Anderson – 4 INT
Team: Miami Dolphins
Opponent: Pittsburgh Steelers
Date: December 3, 1973
Stats: 4 interceptions, 121 interception yards, 2 defensive touchdowns
It was Week 12 of the 1973 NFL season and it had been over nine years since a player caught at least four interceptions in a game. That would change when the Miami Dolphins hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers with both teams eyeing the playoffs. It turned out to be an exciting game.
Miami led 30-3 at halftime, but were outscored 23-0 in the second half. They still won the game 30-26 and Dick Anderson finished with four interceptions — two of which were returned for touchdowns. Terry Bradshaw and Joe Gilliam threw a combined six interceptions in the loss.
5. Willie Buchanon – 4 INT
Team: Green Bay Packers
Opponent: San Diego Chargers
Date: September 24, 1978
Stats: 4 interceptions, 77 yards, 1 defensive touchdown
It was Week 4 of the 1978 NFL season and the San Diego Chargers were hosting the Green Bay Packers. The Chargers were just 1-2 on the young season, but the Packers were 2-1 and looking to maintain momentum — which they did with a commanding 24-3 victory in San Diego.
Willie Buchanon stole the show with four interceptions for Green Bay — one of which was returned for a 77-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. The Chargers would throw a total of five picks in the game — two each from James Harris and Dan Fouts, and one from Cliff Olander.
4. Deron Cherry – 4 INT
Team: Kansas City Chiefs
Opponent: Seattle Seahawks
Date: September 29, 1985
Stats: 4 interceptions, 24 interception yards
It was Week 4 of the 1985 NFL season and it had been seven years since a player caught four interceptions in a game. That would change thanks to Deron Cherry of the Kansas City Chiefs, who picked the Seattle Seahawks off four times in the 28-7 win as Kansas City improved to 3-1.
It wasn’t a pretty game for either team’s quarterbacks. Seattle threw five interceptions — four from Dave Krieg and one from Gale Gilbert — and Kansas City threw three interceptions — two from Todd Blackledge and one from Bill Kenney. Five different players caught an interception.
3. Kwamie Lassiter – 4 INT
Team: Arizona Cardinals
Opponent: San Diego Chargers
Date: December 27, 1998
Stats: 7 tackles, 4 interceptions, 36 interception yards, 1 pass defensed
It was the final regular season game of the 1998 NFL season and the Arizona Cardinals were playing host to the San Diego Chargers. The Cardinals were looking for a spot in the playoffs and would make it with a tight 16-13 victory over the Chargers thanks to a last-second field goal.
Kwamie Lassiter was the star of the game, finishing with four interceptions and playing a huge role in not allowing the Chargers to score points. All four of his interceptions came against Craig Whelihan and he caught one interception in each quarter. It was an impressive performance.
2. Deltha O’Neal – 4 INT
Team: Denver Broncos
Opponent: Kansas City Chiefs
Date: October 7, 2001
Stats: 3 tackles, 4 interceptions, 69 interception yards, 6 passes defensed
It was Week 4 of the 2001 NFL season — not even a month after the 9/11 terrorist attack. The Denver Broncos were hosting the Kansas City Chiefs early in the year. It was a close 10-6 games at the end of the first half, but 13 unanswered points in the second led to a Broncos’ win.
Trent Green threw four interceptions in this game — all of which were picked off by Deltha O’Neal. His first interception came in the first quarter, but his second didn’t come until the third quarter. He caught two more in the fourth quarter, including one at the two-minute warning.
1. DeAngelo Hall – 4 INT
Team: Washington Redskins
Opponent: Chicago Bears
Date: October 24, 2010
Stats: 7 tackles, 4 interceptions, 92 interception yards, 4 passes defensed
DeAngelo Hall is the most recent player to catch four interceptions in the same game. He did it during the Washington Redskins’ Week 7 matchup against the Chicago Bears during the 2010 NFL season. The Redskins went on to win 17-14, despite being down 14-10 at halftime.
Hall wouldn’t notch his first interception until six minutes into the second half, but that’s when he got hot. He would catch two in the third quarter and two in the fourth quarter. His third interception was returned for a 92-yard touchdown and was the game-winning touchdown.
Which Quarterbacks Threw the Most Interceptions In a Game?
As you can see, only 12 players in NFL history have managed to catch four interceptions in the same game and while we’re still waiting to witness the first five-interception game, there have been over 100 players to catch three in the same game. We mentioned some of them above.
Now that you have an idea of who had the most interceptions in a game on the defensive end of the ball, you might be wondering who had the most interceptions in a game on the offensive side of the ball. Trust us, you’ll likely be surprised at some of the names that are featured on that list.
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Of all the quarterbacks with the most interceptions in a game, only one has thrown eight picks in the past 70 years — Jim Hardy. In addition to that, five quarterbacks in NFL history have thrown seven picks — Ty Detmer, Steve DeBerg, Ken Stabler, Tommy Wade, and Zeke Bratkowski.
Nearly 40 have thrown six interceptions — including the likes of Ryan Fitzpatrick, Peyton Manning, Joe Namath (twice), George Blanda (three times), and Sammy Baugh.
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