EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — A rookie wide receiver beat New York Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis for two touchdowns, including the game-winner, Sunday. Yeah, the New England Patriots were smart to let the cornerback walk in free agency.
Revis didn’t get burned on any long completions, which has happened with regularity this season, but he did let Malcolm Mitchell slip past him twice in the end zone during the Patriots’ 22-17 Week 12 win. The Patriots didn’t seem to target Revis intentionally, and there was no evidence they were trying to exploit him. It just so happens that on two of the most important plays of the game, Revis let his receiver slip past his reach.
The Patriots had nothing but good things to say about Revis before and after the game.
“He’s a great player,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said Sunday. “He’s been a great player for a long time, so I have respect for him and what his abilities are. I thought he played really well.”
Jets fans and media seem to disagree, and there’s talk of either benching the cornerback or moving him to safety. That could work, except Revis has had as many issues tackling as he has keeping up with slippery receivers.
“Great guy, phenomenal player, a Hall of Famer,” Mitchell said after the game.
Revis’ head coach, Todd Bowles, even seemed to defend his cornerback, apparently forgetting Brady’s first touchdown pass.
“I only saw them catch the ball at the end,” Bowles said. “I didn’t see them have success going after him at all.”
Bowles later answered a question about the first touchdown throw and whether Revis hesitated.
“(Brady) dropped the ball,” Bowles said. “That’s hesitation. He dropped the ball and scooped it back up. When you blink, you have hesitation. The rushers eased up, and that’s hesitation. It was on everybody.”
Revis is making $17 million this season. He helped the Patriots win a Super Bowl, and the Patriots, smartly, decided he wasn’t worth the five-year, $70 million contract handed to him by the Jets.
Revis was asked about the Patriots’ game-winning score.
“Zero coverage,” Revis said. “We have to protect the inside. There was no middle safety on the field. We protected inside, and they ran out routes. Great execution by those guys, seeing what coverage we were in. They basically executed better than we did on that play.”
There could be an awkward divorce coming between Revis and the Jets. The Patriots were fortunate to avoid his regression.
Thumbnail photo via Robert Deutsch/USA TODAY Sports Images