Tennessee Titans safety Kevin Byard is in a groove seldom seen for NFL defensive backs.
Byard, a second-year pro from Middle Tennessee, had two more interceptions Sunday against Joe Flacco in a 23-20 win over Baltimore. That comes on the heels of three picks against Cleveland just before the bye week. Those five takeaways tied a record for the most interceptions in a two-game span since the NFL merger in 1970.
“I’m just playing hard and getting to the ball. I don’t really think I’m doing anything special,” Byard said. “Quarterbacks just keep trying me and I hope this keeps happening. The more picks I get, I hope they keep trying me. Any time you get an opportunity to make a play, you’ve got to make it every time.”
Byard was a ballhawk at MTSU, grabbing 19 interceptions in his four years with the Blue Raiders. But even that pales in comparison to what he has done the past couple of weeks.
“I was talking to Coach Jack (Steve Jackson), and it was like I feel like I’m kind of in ‘The Matrix’ right now. I’m in the zone and I’m just catching one. It’s coming back to back, and hopefully I can keep them coming,” Byard said.
Byard said he is mainly just doing his assignment correctly and that is leading to making plays on the football.
“We are not doing anything special,” he said. “We are just taking it upon ourselves to say, ‘We’re going to play Titans football.’”
Titans coach Mike Mularkey credited Byard with being in the right place at the right time and making the plays. The first interception came of a tipped ball from cornerback Logan Ryan. His second pick was a good read on the ball in one-on-one coverage.
He very nearly had a third one again, but teammate Adoree’ Jackson knocked the ball away, not knowing that Byard had a bead on it.
“He’s in the right zone,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said of Byard, “right where he’s supposed to drop. … He’s making plays all over the place.”