The defense has been hit hard with criticism through the first seven games as they have struggled to stop the run and keep opponents out of the end zone. One area where the unit has been productive is in takeaways and there are two players in particular accounting for almost three-quarters of them.
Byrd is currently tied for the second most interceptions in the league with three, while Scott is tied for third most with two.
“I think it’s just having a knack for doing some things,” said Byrd. “Some stuff you can’t explain, but you’ve got to be in the right place at the right time and studying and focus on doing your job and knowing what you’re supposed to do.”
Scott is tied for the second-most fumble recoveries in the league (2) while Byrd has one on the season as well.
“Well you talk about effort, a lot of those are hustle plays,” said Scott. “You’re on one side of the field or there’s a fumble or the ball pops out and you’re the first one there to recover the fumble.”
Byrd is known by most as a safety that makes plays via the interception. But some might be surprised to know that Byrd has created more turnovers by jarring the ball loose on tackles than he has picking off passes.
Since the 2010 season Byrd has nine forced fumbles versus seven interceptions.
“Turnovers are turnovers,” Byrd told Buffalobills.com. “When they put them up at the end of the year for team defense they come up as turnovers, not interceptions and forced fumbles. It’s just turnovers. Whatever you need to do to get them whether they’re forced fumbles or interceptions, I just try to force turnovers.”
Byrd leads the league in forced fumbles right now with three. Scott has one as well.
“There is some instinct involved. Get the ball,” said Scott. “That’s what we’re trying to do. Running to the ball and just making plays and things happen. You see it all the time.”
“I’m just trying to create a game changing play that can result in our team getting the ball back,” said Byrd.
Byrd has already matched his forced fumble total (3) and interception total (3) from last season and has nine games to play. In the same vein Scott has matched his single-season career high interception total with his two picks through seven games.
“We try to pride ourselves on takeaways because obviously turnovers win ball games,” said Scott. “You see it if we turn the ball over we lose, if we get takeaways we win.”
Their opportunistic play has translated into a friendly competition for the team takeaway title this season.
“It’s unspoken. We’ve never talked about it, but I’m sure he’s gunning for it just like I am too,” Scott said. “I want to be that top guy that’s creating turnovers and making plays.”