Occupy Revis Island? Not Exactly
Florham Park, N.J.- It’s not often you see a quarterback purposely test Darrelle Revis, but yesterday that’s exactly what Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick did. As shocking as it was to see the Bills continually attacking Revis, it was more shocking to see them have success with this strategy.
Quarterbacks facing Revis find themselves in a classic, stuck between a rock and a hard place situation. Throw at Revis and you risk a lot of incompletions and potential interceptions, don’t throw at him and your best receiver is of absolutely no use. With the Bills being thin at receiver and missing Fred Jackson, Fitzpatrick decided he had to try and utilize his most talented weapon. Even if that weapon was matched up against Revis the entire game.
So attack Revis they did, but let’s be realistic here. While it was odd to see a receiver catch eight passes with Revis defending him, it should be noted that they were all short slants with Revis playing off of Johnson, essentially giving the Bills those underneath routes, to defend against the deep ball.
“I mean Brett Favre threw interceptions before. So you got to look at it like, you’re not going to have a perfect game every time, you’re not going to have your best game all the time.” Revis said when asked to reflect on yesterday’s performance. “I’ve had horrible games in the past. So you got to live with the good ones and you got to live with the bad ones.
“Looking at the film was it that bad? No, it wasn’t. It was a lot of underneath throws, he caught a lot of five, seven yard, 10 yard catches, in our defense we can live with that. We can live with that and we move one, the one thing we really try to focus on is getting beat deep. That’s the thing and it was what it was, but on top of that Stevie Johnson, he’s a really good receiver. He’s the best receiver on their team and he had a really good game yesterday.”
On the touchdown pass that Johnson caught, it appeared as if the Jets were expecting a fade route by Johnson as Revis lined up on the line before backing off to give Johnson some room underneath right before the snap. As soon as Revis backed off, the ball was snapped and Johnson immediately broke inside on another slant route for an easy touchdown. As for Johnson’s touchdown celebration, Revis said Johnson should have kept the focus of the celebration on the people involved in the play.
“It was him being a young guy, young and immature a little bit. Because it had nothing to do with the situation.” Revis said, “If anything he scored on me, so come at me if anything. That’s just wrong to me and it wasn’t smart on his part, doing a dumb thing and shooting himself. That was just, to me, disrespectful to Plaxico in a way.”
On the Bills final drive the Jets and Revis were the benefactors of some good luck as Johnson dropped two passes that could have won the game for the Bills. On the pass across the middle to the wide open Johnson, Revis explained that the defense was in “cover five” and said Johnson just got between him and the safety, acknowledging that both the safety and himself could have played it better before admitting that would have likely been a touchdown if Johnson could have simply held on to the ball. “I mean if he would have caught it, he would probably score, but he didn’t.” Revis said, “He dropped it so that’s the play.”
Johnson did in fact drop the ball, both literally and figuratively, and the Jets were able to survive and win the game and ultimately that’s all that matters. Revis did not have his best game, but it still wasn’t nearly as bad as some are making it seem. Yes, Revis got beat eight separate times, but not only were they short underneath routes, but they were perfect passes with Revis just a tick behind the pass but still positioned to make the tackle immediately.
It was definitely jarring to watch Revis give up those catches while it happened, but what is even more telling is that we live in a world where giving up eight catches for 75 yards and one touchdown against Stevie Johnson is what people consider a “horrible” game for Revis. If that’s all it takes to make everyone stand at attention in a total state of shock, it says much more about how great a player Revis has been than it says about yesterday’s performance.