NEW ORLEANS — Linebacker Keith Bulluck declared on Wednesday that he thought “America wants to see me” after a nearly three-year absence from Monday Night Football for the Tennessee Titans.
After intercepting three passes in the Titans 31-14 victory over the New Orleans Saints, Bulluck was doing his best to fulfill the moniker he gave himself on Wednesday of being, “Mr. Monday Night.”
Bulluck intercepted a Drew Brees pass in the first half, then had two more in the fourth quarter in staking his claim to that nickname. Bulluck was half joking when he made the comments about “Monday Night” nickname and that America wanted to see him, but he backed it up. He said he made the statements to take pressure off so many younger teammates who had never played in primetime before.
“A lot of my teammates haven’t played on Monday Night Football before, going into this game,” Bulluck said.
As for the nickname making a far-reaching impact, “I didn’t know how far it would go, but it’s gone farther than Nashville now. I backed it up and I feel I’m a player in this league that considers himself one of the top players at his position.”
Bulluck’s teammates are ready to crown him with the nickname he gave himself. When asked if Bulluck was “Mr. Monday Night,” quarterback Vince Young, who had two touchdown passes himself, “Yeah, he was.”
Bulluck is eager to get another Monday night chance on Nov. 19 in Denver.
“They’ll get the chance to see the Titans again in November,” Bulluck said.
Ironically, none of Bulluck’s three interceptions produced any points for the Titans, but a fourth interception, this one by Vincent Fuller, was returned 61 yards for a touchdown that helped ice the victory for Tennessee.
Bulluck also had a jarring tackle of Deuce McAllister in the second quarter after a pass reception that forced the running back to leave the game with a knee injury. McAllister did not return.
Bulluck also leveled Brees on a flea-flicker by the Saints on the first play from scrimmage in the second half.
FILLING IN: For the second time in as many games, backup quarterback Kerry Collins was left to complete the Titans’ final series of the first half in place of starter Vince Young.
Young, who went in early at halftime against Indianapolis for an I.V., did so again with one minute to go in the first half of Monday night’s game against the New Orleans Saints.
The Saints had just scored to cut the Titans’ lead to 10-7. Collins completed all four of his pass attempts on the drive, but gained only 22 yards.
THANKS A LOT: Young said he has a lot of respect for Saints running back Reggie Bush, who was drafted in the No. 2 slot, one pick ahead of Young in the 2006 NFL Draft.
Bush even helped Young to get more tickets for Monday night’s game.
“A lot of people don’t know, but I asked him for extra tickets to his game, and he came through,” Young said. “I appreciate that.”
INJURIES/INACTIVES: Titans right guard Benji Olson suffered an injury on Young’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Jones early in the second quarter. The injury was said to be a cramp, and Olson sat out during the second quarter, but returned to start the second half.
Most notable among the Titans inactives was punter Craig Hentrich, whose back problem forced the Titans to sign Josh Miller on Saturday. The left-footed Miller also held for field goals and extra points.
Other inactives for Tennessee included receiver Paul Williams, cornerback Reynaldo Hill, running back Chris Henry, tight end Casey Cramer, guard Leroy Harris, defensive end Bryce Fisher and defensive tackle Corey Simon.
Saints inactives were third quarterback Tyler Palko, receiver Robert Meachem, their first-round pick from the University of Tennessee, cornerback Fred Thomas, running back Pierre Thomas, guard Andy Alleman, defensive tackle Kendrick Clancy, tackle Jermon Bushrod and tight end Ronnie Ghent.
BIRTHDAY SURPRISE: It was not the birthday present Antwan Odom was looking for Monday night as he got to Brees in the second quarter, but was called for a personal foul face mask penalty that helped set up the Saints’ first touchdown of the game. Odom turned 26 on Monday.
RISKY MOVE: After McAllister was stopped a half-yard short of a first down at his own 45 in the first quarter, the Saints elected to go on fourth down. The play call was questionable, however, as Saints quarterback Drew Brees threw deep to Marques Colston, but the pass was nowhere near the receiver. In addition, Saints tackle Jammal Brown was called for holding, which was declined.
OLD FRIENDS: Monday night’s game was the reunion of several of the players from the 2005 Rose Bowl where Vince Young and Texas rallied to defeat Southern California, which featured the running back tandem of Bush and LenDale White.
Young and White are now teammates with the Tennessee Titans, while Bush is with the New Orleans Saints.
CLEARED: Wide receiver Biren Ealy, who was waived on Saturday to make room for punter Miller, has cleared waivers and is expected to be re-signed by the Tennessee Titans for their practice squad.
Ealy, an undrafted free agent who made the 53-man roster out of training camp, was inactive for the first two games of the season.